No Man's Property by James Brosnahan | Script Revolution

No Man's Property

Enslaved nurse must rely upon her faith, medical knowledge and cunning to escape her abusive enslaver. Inspired by a true story.

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Status:

Page Count: 
109pp

Genre:

Budget:

Age Rating:

Based On: 
Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (public domain) - Inspired by
Synopsis/Details: 

“No Man’s Property” is a feature-length female centered drama inspired by “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” by Harriet Jacobs and is written along the lines of stories such as “Underground Railroad.” While there are other films about this era that follow the journey of an enslaved person's battle for freedom, too many "render Black people as merely Black bodies onto which the sins of this ragged country are violently mapped" (A.J. Bastien, 2020). By contrast, Linda, the Black protagonist in this screenplay, is far more dynamic and greater than the suffering forced on her. Instead of reaffirming the violence that everyone correlates this topic with, this story highlights the inner strength and life of Linda poignantly.

Linda is a 19-year-old Black woman who is enslaved by Dr. Flint and his wife Mrs. Flint. Her childhood friend Nate, a 21-year-old Black man was born to a freed Black woman and is thereby free himself, and works as a carpenter. He is determined to buy Linda's freedom so that they can marry. As he works to earn enough money to do so Linda is forced to live under the oppressive thumb of Dr. Flint. While he allows her to read his medical books and help him tend to patients, he often takes advantage of her. As she tries to flit around his increasingly perverse sexual advances, his wife becomes increasingly jealous and wishes Linda gone. But Dr. Flint refuses to let her go. Meanwhile, Linda uses her medical knowledge to save a young boy from Dr. Flint's attempts to cut his leg off. This boy turns out to be the son of a local farmer. She then helps to save a little girl named Kate, who is the daughter of Matthew, a slave hunter.

Linda proves her superior medical skills and knowledge and gains respect among the townsfolk. She helps others even if it puts her in the way of the doctor’s abuse. When she contradicts his medical treatments, she reveals that despite the self-preservation required of someone in her position, she chooses to help those in need.

When Nate returns with enough money to buy her freedom Dr. Flint refuses and threatens to kill him on sight. Desperate to get out, and afraid of how much worse it will get, Linda tries to get Mrs. Flint to help her convince Dr. Flint to sell her to Nate. But the doctor still refuses. So, Linda devises a plan with Nate to run away to Savannah but Linda gets bit by a cottonmouth en route and Nate carries her to the Corbin plantation, owned by the family who freed Nate's parents, and Martha Corbin agrees to take Linda into her care. One night, a patrol comes to search the Corbin plantation. While Linda manages to hide, Sam, one of Martha's sons, gets injured during the raid. Linda is able to set Sam's bone.

As she finds herself facing increasingly difficult obstacles on her journey to freedom, the people who she helped with her medical knowledge before come to her aid. The farmer helps her get to Nate in Savannah, Mrs. Corbin repays her for saving her son Sam by hiding her away and helping her to freedom. In end, even the slave hunter whose daughter she saves, and who Dr. Flint paid to bring Linda back, decides to save Linda instead. Dr. Flint, on his way to look for Linda in New York, dies when the ship he's on capsizes. Linda and Nate get married, and Mrs. Corbin buys Linda's freedom from Mrs. Flint. Linda becomes a doctor; however, her dream is not yet realized. Although free from her enslaver, she wishes to walk in the same sunshine as white people and not in the shadow of Jim Crow.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

WeScreenplay CONSIDER rating.
ISA Table Read my Screenplay - Semi-finalist (2022)
NYC Screenplay Awards - Best Feature (2022)

Video: 
Screenplay Trailer - No Man's Property
Submitted: July 26, 2021
Last Updated: April 11, 2022

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James Brosnahan's picture

The Writer: James Brosnahan

I am a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a published playwright and produced screenwriter. My plays have been produced across the US and Europe. My screenplays have earned awards at several film festivals. I teach writing for film and stage at the high school level as well as writing for change leaders in the business world. I grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from the University of Dayton and live in Ohio with my wife and a son with Down syndrome who keeps alive a sense of wonder in the family. I am willing to modify my screenplays to fit budget, talent and location. I hope you enjoy my work. Happy filmmaking! Go to bio

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