About The Film

Contact: Constance L. Jackson

Synopsis of the documentary
Over the River…Life of Lydia Maria Child, Abolitionist for Freedom
Written, Co-produced, and Directed by Constance L. Jackson

“The memory of the early Antislavery days is very sacred to me. The Holy Spirit did actually descend upon men and women in tongues of flame. Political and theological prejudices, and personal ambitions, were forgotten in sympathy for the wrongs of the helpless, and in the enthusiasms to keep the fire of freedom from being extinguished on our national alter.”

By Lydia Maria (Mariah) Child

Such powerful words stated by a white woman of the 19th century. Most women’s voices were quashed in a newly founded society that boasts its freedom. Lydia Maria Francis-Child, from her childhood challenged and defied societal constraints on the American woman and became one of America’s leading propagandists in the first Civil Rights Movement in America to abolish slavery. Her pursuit for freedom for black Americans and the American Indian became her literary trademark. The use of the term African Americans dates as far back as the title of her book An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans written in 1833. Excerpts from her book, An Appeal, were later used by leaders of the1960s Civil Rights Movement to forge their cause.

Over the River… looks at the tumultuous times of the 19th century and how Lydia Maria Child’s major literary contribution was paramount in triggering the Civil War and raising the public’s consciousness on many other cutting-edge issues that helped create change for women, promote religious freedom, and shape child development.

The filmmaker interviewed notable American history scholars for the documentary and also included re-enactments, period footage, and archival prints from various historical societies and the Library of Congress to depict the tumultuous time in America using Lydia Maria Child’s point-of-view.

Lydia Maria Child represented the best of America. The only memory most Americans have of her today is her famous Thanksgiving Day poem turned song, Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go. In 2001, Constance Jackson was instrumental in getting Lydia Maria Child inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at Seneca Falls, New York alongside Justice Ginsberg and Rosalynn Carter.