Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Rebel

Airing Friday, May 24, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. ET on PBS

When The Woman In Battle was published in 1876 it caused a sensation.  Its author, Loreta Janeta Velazquez, was one of an estimated 1,000 women who secretly served as soldiers during the American Civil War.  Many, including former Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early, worked to prove it and its author a hoax and a fraud.  How could a Latina woman, an immigrant from New Orleans, and the daughter of a wealthy Cuban planter, masquerade herself as Harry T. Buford, a Confederate soldier, and later become a Union spy?  To many in the 19th century it was simply a tale too fantastic to be believed.

Dismissed as a fraud, Loreta and her service to both the Confederate Army and the Union cause, have nearly been erased from the history of the greatest conflict to ever take place on American soil; that is until now.  “Rebel,” a new episode of the Latino Public Broadcasting documentary series Voces, premiers Friday May 24, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. ET, on PBS.

Based largely on Loreta’s 600-page memoir, “Rebel” was written and directed by Maria Augui Carter and produced by herself and Calvin Lindsay, Jr.  It uses dramatic reenactment (most notably featuring Romi Dias as Loreta), archival material and historical commentary by such noted historians and scholars as Catherine Clinton, Renee Sentilles, Kirsten Silva Gruesz, Christina Vella, Jesse Aleman, Vicki L. Ruiz, DeAnne Blanton, Elizabeth D. Leonard, Richard Hall, Carman Cumming and Gary W. Gallagher, to weave together a captivating hour long documentary that successfully lifts the veil of mystery that has shrouded its subject for nearly 150 years and rightfully restores her place in history alongside her sisters in uniform.

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