Alfre Woodard’s character in “12 Years a Slave” is brief (one scene), but unforgettable.
The veteran actress plays Mistress Harriet Shaw, a formerly enslaved woman who rises through the Southern caste system to become the wife of a wealthy plantation owner.
“She is a woman who, like all women during this period, whether they were field slaves, house slaves, white mistresses of households, whoever they were, women had a very tough road to hoe,” Woodard told NPR. “And you get to see how little actual power they had in the society. But they all figured out a way to use the personal power they had as women to make their lives livable.”
Mistress Shaw’s plantation sits next to the plantation that eventually lands free-born Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) after he is sold into slavery.
Read more at EurWeb.com