Numbering over 10,000 titles, May's pamphlets and leaflets document the anti-slavery struggle at the local, regional, and national levels. Much of the May Anti-Slavery Collection was considered ephemeral or fugitive, and today many of these pamphlets are scarce. Sermons, position papers, offprints, local Anti-Slavery Society newsletters, poetry anthologies, freedmen's testimonies, broadsides, and Anti-Slavery Fair keepsakes all document the social and political implications of the abolitionist movement.
The 351 titles in the collection include sermons on racial pride and political activism; annual reports of charitable, educational, and political organizations; and college catalogs and graduation orations from the Hampton Institute, Morgan College, and Wilberforce University. Also included are biographies, slave narratives, speeches by members of Congress, legal documents, poetry, playbills, dramas, and librettos. Other pamphlets focus on segregation, voting rights, violence against African-Americans, and the colonization of Africa by freed slaves.
Chapter two of Terry Christensen and Peter Haas’ book Projecting Politics, “The Making of a Message” explores how political messages can be most effectively projected through film production and techniques. The authors state the most common way films send political messages is through the screenplay, which entails the subject matter, characters and plotting. In political films, dialogue is of the utmost importance; more words are spoken and what is said is given greater weight. Dialogue is a precarious aspect of the film because if too much is said then the movie is deemed inactive and boring; if the political implications are too obvious, the effectiveness of the messages can be subverted; and if the film is too understated, the political messages might be overlooked. Therefore, the authors argue that political films are most effective when they allow audiences to infer their own conclusions, or at least let them think that they have.
This notion is relevant to my thesis, as the political messages in Casablanca are not verbally broadcasted throughout the film; but rather, they are embedded in dialogue that is relevant to the narrative of the story. A perfect example of this is when Rick says, “Louis, this is a start of a beautiful friendship”- words that allow us to reach our own conclusions. We may interpret the words on a surface level, as simply reconciliation between friends within a story; or we may look beneath the surface and infer the political implications of the words – the start of a great friendship between an American and a Frenchmen to signify supporting an American alliance with European countries to fight against the Nazi regime.
The authors also discuss movie conventions that can be used in a political film to minimize the risk of controversy. The most relevant to my thesis is personalization, when movies with a political subject matter focus on the personal drama of politically active characters, making them more acceptable and accessible to mass audiences. This is in direct accordance with my thesis, as it supports the notion that because Casablanca works so well as a character drama, it is such an effective form of propaganda.
Another important element of the film that the chapter touches upon is the importance of casting. The casting of movie stars influences the effectives of the political messages on the public. “Stars are the creation of the public: political and psychological models who demonstrate some quality we admire" (33). This notion of the star system and the affect it has on viewers is pertinent to my thesis because it shows the profound capacity of the character Rick Blaine, and the actor Humphrey Bogart, to sway public opinion. The book states, “the so-called star system frequently cues the audience to political values transmitted by a movie" (33). Thus the casting of an actor who is renowned as an American icon, like Humphrey Bogart, reassures audiences that the movie they are seeing supports National (American) values and serves to enhance the legitimacy of the political messages being sent.