"Nigger, you ain't nothin' but the white man's dog!"
Description: Denzel Washington as Trip, a Negro Civil War soldier disenchanted with fellow Negro John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) in the motion picture Glory (1989).
Trip, an escaped slave from Tennessee with whip marks on his back to prove it, and John Rawlins, a graver digger from Boston are members of the first all-black regiment the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
Lead by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick), a white son of wealthy Boston abolitionists (who was injured at the Battle of Antietam), the black troops are trained to be soldiers. They hope one day to fight for the Union against the Confederacy, which has placed a bounty on the heads of any black man fighting for the Union.
"In accordance with President Lincoln's wishes, you men are advised that the Confederate Congress has issued a proclamation. It reads: 'Any negro taken in arms against the Confederacy will immediately be returned to a state of slavery. Any negro taken in Federal uniform will be summarily put to death. Any white officer taken in command of negro troops shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection and shall likewise be put to death.' Full discharges will be granted in the morning to all those who apply. Dismissed."
As the troops wait for combat, Captain Shaw becomes an advocate for the black soldiers and the much needed supplies that are being withheld because his soldiers are black,. As of yet, the Union superiors believe that Shaw's soldiers are only good for doing manual labor tasks like building and digging ditches. and paying the colored soldiers less wages ($10.00) verses the $13.00 received by the white troops.
Private Trip objects to the unfair wage schedule and shouts, "a colored soldier can stop a bullet just as good a white one - and for less money, too." Trip insights the black regiment to tear up their pay vouchers in protest. Colonel Shaw joins them, saying, 'I you men will take no pay, none of us will."
To show his appreciation for the brave men of his regiment, Colonel Shaw promotes Rawlins to the rank of Sgt. Major, a privilege never before given to a black soldier. Rawlins in confidence tells Shaw, "I ain't sure I'm a wantin' this." And Shaw replies, "I know exactly how you feel."
One night around a campfire, Private Trip tries to goad a timid, bookish Corporal named Thomas Searles (Andre Braugher) into a fight. Blocking his path, Trips asks, "Where are you going, boy?" Thomas, not wanting to quarrel, requests "Let me by." Trip refuses, and says, "Let you by? Let you by? Let me tell you something, boy, You can march like the white man, you can talk like him, you can learn his songs, you can even wear his suits, but you will never be anything to him but an ugly ass chimp....Well, what we gonma do about it. You gonna fight me, boy?"
Trip imitates the sounds of a chimp to get Thomas mad. And it does. Thomas pushes Trip and a fight ensues, but it is broken up by Sgt. Major Rawlins. Trip takes exception to Rawlins interrupting his private sport, saying, "Nigger you better get your hands off of me." Sgt. Rawlins replies, "There ain't no niggers around here, ya hear me!." Trip barks, "So the white man gives you some stripes and the next thing you know your hollerin' and orderin' everyone around like you is the Master his self. Nigger you ain't nothing but the white man's dog!" Rawlins slaps the errant private in the face, and then asks:
“And what are you? So full of hate that you just want to go out and fight everybody, because you've been whipped and chased by hounds. Well that might not be living, but it sure as hell ain't dying. And dying's what these white boys been doing for going on three years now, dying by the thousands, dying for you, fool. I know because I dug the graves. And all this time I'm digging I'm askin' myself, when, when O Lord, when will be our time? The times coming when we' gonna hafta ante up, ante up and kick in like men, LIKE MEN! You watch who you callin' nigger! If there's any niggers around here, it's YOU, smart-mouthed, stupid-ass, swamp-runnin' nigger! If you ain't careful, that's all you ever gonna be!”
After proving themselves in combat on James Island, South Carolina on July 16, 1863 where the Confederates are forced to retreat, Colonel Shaw, under the orders of General George Strong (Jay O. Sanders), attacks Charleston Harbor with the hopes taking Battery Wagner, a heavily-fortified fortress on Morris Island. Under the flag of the Union, Shaw leads his black troops, but Shaw is killed, as well as, more than half of the soldiers in his command. Although they fought bravely, the Confederacy still controlled of the coastal fort.
But the efforts of the black soldiers, who showed as much valor and honor as any white man, spurred the Federal Army to recruit more black soldiers for the cause (180,000 of them).
Those who died during the battle of Fort Wagner were buried in a mass grave, in which Colonel Shaw and Private Trip's bodies lay together among the other heroes who had perished for the liberty of all men, both white and black.
President Lincoln declared the black troops , who enlisted to aid the country, helped turn the tide of war in favor of the Union.
Note: Sgt. Mulcahy, (John Finn) the Irish officer who had to train the black recruits, enjoyed spitting brutal, insulting phrases, especially to Corporal Thmas Searles, a freeborn black man who joined to fight the Confederacy.
|Sgt. Mulcahy:||You are ugly Mexican-African fuckin' whores!|
|Sgt. Mulcahy:||[berating Private Trip] You half-wit black bastard! Did they truly cut your balls off at birth? I'm gonna work on you, you bastard, until I get you broken.|
|Sgt. Mulcahy:||[mocking Searles' manner of walking] Oh, look at this, Bonnie Prince Charlie! Are you a gentleman? Are you a member of Congress or something? Or are you the bloody Prince of Africa?|
|Sgt. Mulcahy:||[to Searles during bayonet practice] I said STAB, not TICKLE! Come on, you prissy little schoolgirl! You're the worst soldier in this whole company, now HIT ME!|
|Sgt. Mulcahy:||[to Searles] Don't look at me, look straight ahead! I'll eat your ass up, boyo!|