East Tennesseans Find "Amazing Grace" Inspiring

Knoxville (WVLT) - An inspirational movie hit theaters on Friday telling the story behind the end of slavery in England and how that move would help mold the words to one of the most popular gospel hymns. The film is taking the name of that well known song. "Amazing Grace."

Our Whitney Daniel has more on its debut.

Two hundred years ago in England, Parliament passed William Wilberforce's bill to abolish slavery. The movie showcases his struggles with the law and highlights how faith helped pull him through.
The result: A free land and the birth of a beautiful song.

"I think the reason they chose the title "Amazing Grace" is it's so unbelievable that it happens. It's really by the Grace of God that they were able to destroy this terrible practice that was causing death and suffering of so many million," moviegoer Kevin Huggins said.

It's getting rave reviews from folks in Knoxville.

"They applauded at the end," moviegoer Sandy Goldston said.

"The audience broke out in spontaneous applause. I hadn't seen that in a movie before," Huggins said.

"Everybody stayed 'til all the closing credits were done and watched the band at the end playing 'Amazing Grace'. It was very nice," Goldston said.

Theater-goers say the movie does more than entertain, it's encouraging.

"It inspires you to believe that one person can have a huge impact if they're just tenacious," Huggins said.

Although he has some help, William Wilberforce leads the way to legally abolish slavery. John Newton, the man who wrote 'Amazing Grace,' acts as a spiritual mentor through the tireless journey.

"I think it inspires people to think, 'What can a few do?'" Huggins said.

"I'm a pastor, a Christian, so I'm the product of Amazing Grace," moviegoer Bill Sikes said.

Some bought tickets for entertainment, and got much more.

"It's a true story so it was just very moving," Goldston said.

"Freedom of a person who's in personal slavery I think it's despicable in our history, but to me, the greater slavery has been the slavery of the soul," Sikes said.

Folks we talked to say it's an amazing movie, telling an amazing true story, but listen to this: There are about 27-million modern day slaves -- that's more than when slavery was legal in England and the U.S.

In conjunction with the release of the movie, Bristol Bay Productions is launching the Amazing Change Campaign to help end slavery. Even more amazing than that: One 15-year old, named Zach Hunter, is also doing his part. He started a campaign at his school when he was twelve, called Loose Change to Loosen Chains. Zach's small campaign sparked interest around the globe and is now part of the world-wide Amazing Change Campaign.

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