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‘Gabriel’s Revolt,’ a Northern Virginia Community College Produced Student and Faculty Film to Air August 2nd on WETA TV 26 and WETA HD

A Northern Virginia Community College produced film will broadcast on WETA TV 26, the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, on August 2nd, 2019 at 8:30 p.m.  The NOVA organized passion project, ‘Gabriel’s Revolt’ that spanned over eight years was fueled by the dedication and commitment of the faculty and students here at the college. This historically accurate timepiece was shot at all the original sites where the protagonist had visited centuries ago. 


The story of ‘Gabriel’s Revolt’ chronicles the last days of Gabriel Prosser, an educated slave who lived in Richmond, VA during the 1800’s and dreamt of freedom.  As a skilled blacksmith, Gabriel traveled throughout Virginia as an in-demand tradesman, and noticed the varying conditions that other slaves were in.  These grievances struck with him, so he planned to lead a rebellion against slave-owners to free his fellow slaves. 

At the time, Gabriel Prosser was a gentlemen at no more than 30 years old before he decided that despite the consequences, he would rather deal with the ultimate sacrifice rather than to continue being a slave.  The revolt was the later stamped out by local officials, thereafter, the Virginia legislation made it illegal to educate slaves.  A direct quote from Henry Berry, a member of the House of Delegates of Virginia on the aftermath of the rebellion, “Pass as severe laws as you will, to keep these unfortunate creatures in ignorance, it is in vain, unless you can extinguish that spark of intellect which God has given them.   We have only to go one step further — to extinguish the capacity to see the light, and our work would be completed; they would then be reduced to the level of the beasts of the field, and we should be safe.” 

Dr. Jimmie McClellan, Dean of Liberal Arts at NOVA’s Alexandria campus who had started this endeavor in 2012, set forth this motion to show how “Gabriel is an inspiration to us all no matter what our color.  That if we are oppressed, no matter how deep the oppressions – now it’s harder to imagine any deeper oppression than slavery in this country – there is hope.  And to submit to the oppression is to continue it.  It is better to resist and change it than it is to submit. ”   The production brought NOVA campus volunteers together from all walks of life to act, direct, design artwork, film, and compose the musical score for this biopic production.  Along with professors such as; Dr. Joseph Windham (HIS), Dr. Nick Gaffney (HIS), Dr. Meredith Aquila (CST), Ms Lisa Hill (Design), Mr. Nick Spencer (Design), Dr. Jonathan Kolm (MUS), Dr. Brenda Lewis-Holmes (CST), Dr. Nathan carter (CST) – students contributed many hours to bring to life this story. 

Sah Ara SAnkh Ab Sanu-t, a NOVA staff member who acted in the film and recalls fondly on working on the project.  “The story and the courage of Gabriel is inspiration to all Americans.  I think that the way that these individuals handled fear and opposition and sacrifice to make a change not only for them but also for generations that are to follow them.”

Please click the video below for a brief message about the importance of the film:


For more information on the WETA broadcast schedule for Gabriel’s Revolt, please visit:  https://weta.org/tv/program/gabriels-revolt



Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.