Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. Week 2016 | "John Henry" Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

Disney's Animated Short "John Henry" Powerfully Approaches the Subjects of Slavery and Freedom, Marriage and Support, Community and Sacrifice


"John Henry" was released on Blu-ray in Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection on August 18, 2015. But to begin this January 2016, a friend of my daughter from her school gave her this collection. So I thought it would be apropos to do a small write up on it in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. 

After seeing the short film the first time, my daughter told me that she knew I would love the John Henry short. She was right. It was absolutely amazing. In less than seven minutes, Disney used story and song to address slavery and freedom, marriage and support, community and sacrifice in profound ways for children.

And John Henry – a Christ-like archetype who loved his wife unto death, served and strengthened the downtrodden and poor, and made a away for what was promised for his people – is a wonderful example of strength and grace to people of all ages.

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

Disney Animated Short Film John Henry Summary


 John Henry was a former slave who’s strength made him one of the earliest African-American role models. Wielding a sledge hammer forged from the chains that bound him in servitude, he was a one-man railroad crew who "moved mountains" for his wife and his community. 

But don't take my word for it. Click on the images below and watch the YouTube videos for yourself. Or read the manuscript provided. I think you will enjoy it as it is a great story for all people, especially those who want to not only remember MLK's legacy, but the legacy of all African Americans who helped build this nation.

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church


Disney Animated Short Film John Henry Script, Screen Shots, and Video Clips


(Sung lyrics)

Wonderful (wonderful), marvelous (marvelous), a man with the strength of ten men (yes, he was). Brave and bold with a heart of gold, John Henry was a mighty man, born with a hammer right in his hand.

Narrator: Every soul has a dream. Every heart has a way to make it so. Now let me tell you about my John Henry who laid down his life for his dream. 

John and me were born slaves. Nothing to call our own. Not even each other. Then the day of jubilation came and all the slaves were freed. And John vowed, "Never again." 

And with that, I had his chains forged into a mighty hammer, a present for John on our wedding day. Oh, you'd have that he'd gotten his freedom all over again. He said, "Polly, I'll die with this hammer in my hand."

And off we set to find a work and a place of our own.


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church


Now the C&O Railroad had promised land, 50 acres to every man who finished the line. But when John and I came up on it, they were already worn out and bound to lose our promised land.

Scottish railroad manager: Lads, the deadlines been moved on. If we don't get to the other side of that mountain, we can kiss our land goodbye. 

Crowd: What?! That's it! We had a deal! That's not fair! We're working as hard as we can!

John Henry: I'll take you there.

Scottish railroad manager: And when did you start building railroads?

John Henry: Today.

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

Well then, come on, John. You're the one we're depending on. Swing that hammer with all your might. I know you can show them how to do it right.

Narrator: John's hammer rang out, and the tall tales grew.

John Henry, John Henry, John Henry is a mighty man. 
Born with a hammer, a ten-pound hammer, a twenty-pound hammer right in his hand.
I heard John's mama liked to sew at night, so he pulled down the moon for a little bit of light.
Took a lot of cooking to keep John fed: ten dozen eggs and eight loaves of bread. 
John Henry, John Henry, John Henry is a mighty man. 
Born with a hammer, born with a hammer, born with a hammer right in his hand.
He plowed the earth so wide and deep, the seed he sowed the ground had to reap.
His hammer hit the earth in such a mighty blow, everything within it had to jump up and grow. 

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

John Henry, John Henry, John Henry is a powerful man. 

All our lives we've been so poor, John let me show you what we're working for: 
Canaan land, Canaan land, Canaan land. We're working for the Canaan land. Home and freedom hand-in-hand, working for the Canaan land.
Working on down the line, John Henry came in right on time. 
Working on down the line, John Henry came in right on time. 
Home and freedom hand-in-hand, working for the Canaan land.

Crowd: What is that thing? It's a steam drill. That thing's going to take our jobs. 

Scottish railroad manager: But we had a contract. 

Crowd: We had a deal!

John Henry: This ain't no way to settle things.

Crowd: John, they're throwing us away like we was nothing!


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

John Henry: I've got a better way. A challenge. I've got two free hands and a twenty-pound hammer. If I can best this here machine, the land you promised is ours.

Polly: John, we're free. You don't have to do this. 

John Henry: Polly, if they steal our dreams, they put a chain around our souls. Somebody has got to stand tall. Believe in me.

Crowd: Come on, John! Show them what you got, John!

Scottish railroad manager: Furthest by sundown, gentlemen.

John Henry, John Henry, John Henry is a mighty man. 
John Henry, John Henry, John Henry is a powerful man. 
Steal driving hammer, steal driving hammer, oh John defying, steal-driving man.

Crowd: John wins!

Scottish railroad manager: It's not sundown yet.


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

Well come on, John. You're the one that we're depending on. 
Swing that hammer, bust that rock. 
Come on, give it everything you've got!

John Henry, John Henry, John Henry is a mighty man!
Born with a hammer, born with a hammer, born with a hammer right in his hand!

John had to drill and shake, moving rock almost like an earthquake!
Thunder and lightning was everywhere, oh John's power was beyond compare!

John Henry, John Henry, John Henry is a powerful man!
Born with a hammer, born with a hammer, born with a hammer right in his hand!

Scottish railroad manager: Ah, Polly, he did it!


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

Narrator: Oh, and he was smiling 'cause he moved that mountain and led us to the promised land. 

You can move mountains, too, baby. All you've got to do is believe. 

Don't you be scared of that thunder no more, child. The storms have done rolled away. And that's just the sound of your papa driving steal in glory.


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church

So, just remember:


No mountain too high, no valley too low.
No river too wide, no place too far to go.
Oh if you believe you can overcome, the battle is already won. 
Just keep on keeping on. Stand tall just like John.

No matter who you are, no matter where you're from.
Nothing can stop you from who you can become.

Just keep on keeping on. Stand tall just like John!


Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Racial Reconciliation Transcultural Kingdom Multi-ethnic Network of Missional Communities Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church


For more posts on God's multiethnic church and His transcultural Kingdom: 


Kainos Movement 2015 Conference

 


Unveiling the Transcultural Kingdom 2015 Conference



Multi-Ethnic Church and Reconciliation Songs, Books, Videos, and Posts


Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church | "Three Cord Bond" Lyrics Fuel the Flame of Desire for More Multi-Ethnic Churches in Worcester, MA | Necessary Prayers for a Multi-Ethnic Church in Worcester, MA | God's Multi-Ethnic Family | Letters to a Birmingham Jail

– Sully


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