Treva B. Lindsey, Ph.D., theroot.com

Aisha Hinds (Manny Carabel/Getty Images)

Last week, WGN America announced that it had canceled the critically acclaimed and riveting historical drama Underground. Allegedly moving in a more conservative, programming direction, the network is leaving behind a show that introduced millions of viewers to the relatively unknown network….

The push to find a new home for this show is largely due to its dynamism. The show is singular and remarkable in its approach to telling the stories about enslaved and freed black people in the 19th century. From its complex characters, stellar performances, breathtaking soundtrack and rich storytelling, each episode feels like a multitextured journey.

The liberties taken with historical accuracy do not compromise the integrity of truth telling and historical precision as it pertains to slavery and resistance. Pitting the notorious Patty Cannon against the Black Rose and one of the greatest heroines in American history, Harriet Tubman, was an incredible fictionalized remix of true stories of fugitive, formerly enslaved people and the inhumanity of slave catchers and owners. It’s hard to imagine Wednesday nights without the resistive spirit and depths of ancestral pain that Underground has provided….

“She’s come back to sort of give us the playbook on how to strategize, on how to pray, on how to be guided and how to prioritize what’s necessary, and how to eventually take those selfless acts and be willing to die for the causes that are important to moving us forward,” she continued.

Worth dying for, yes. Tubman believed that black lives, black bodies and black souls were worth fighting for—worth dying for and worth living for. “The General’s” actual practice was #BlackLivesMatter, generations before the radical black women at the core of this movement would proclaim the same.

Underground is clear in its purpose: to expose the reality that when it comes to white supremacy—and the ways in which black people have always resisted oppression—past is often prologue. In many ways, Underground reminds us that the past is not even past. It encourages us to fight unrelentingly for radical black futures….

#SaveUnderground matters because the show’s cast and crew were and are unapologetically committed to telling our stories. From an artistic standpoint, Underground is phenomenal. The show’s commitment to a radical, black, freedom-fighting imagination, though, is what makes it invaluable.

Underground is the show, the freedom-dreaming experience, the ancestral battle cry, that we didn’t know we needed.

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