6 Reasons 12 Years a Slave Matters

When 12 Years a Slave opened nationally last November, it launched endless conversations about the legacy of slavery and race in America.

Director Steve McQueen’s hauntingly graphic depiction of slavery even made some people declare they were sitting this one out because they couldn’t bear to watch. This may have included some Oscar voters, which has led to talk that the film may be doomed at Sunday’s Academy Awards.

Whether or not it wins the best picture Oscar, the film has seeped into America culture. The long-term effects may never be fully measured, but the recent announcement that both the movie and the memoir on which it is based will be used in high school curricula ensures that people will be discussing it for years to come.

Here are six ways the film has been influential.


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