Temis the Vorta wrote:
It's also quite rare that someone of Confederate heritage is placed in a hero-type role in a series.
I haven't seen it beyond the pilot, but they were at great pains to make his character highly respectful of black people as equals in a way that was anachronistic for anyone other than the most radical abolitionists of the time - Frederick Douglass and John Brown believed in equality of the races, but it was a very unusual opinion, and for a Confederate...? Well, given that we're talking about millions of people, I guess there could be one
The World's Only Abolitionist Confederate!!! No wonder he's special enough to be the focus of a TV show.
But it sure looked like a chickenshit whitewash to me. They didn't want to take the risk of making the guy as
racist as any white guy, Northern or Southern, would have been, for fear the audience would have bailed.
Since you have only seen the pilot, you haven't seen enough of the show to make that kind of judgement. You missed the scenes where the main character refused to call the black lead character "Mister" and made the black workers worked harder and longer hours than the white workers. You missed the scene where the two men were on the verge of beating each other to death and how the main character did NOT want to promote the black character to a supervisor position. As stated earlier, he had a life-changing experience in viewing the corpses of the slave that helped raise his child, and the child itself, fused together after being burned alive. His dead wife had been a Northern, against slavery but he had been for it. While he still did NOT like showing respect to the black railroad workers, he couldn't stand by and let the man who saved his life be lynched. He was honoring his dead wife and child, but continued to struggle with his racist beliefs throughout the show. The pilot is not indicative of the series. Even the revenge plot, which is the central focus of the entire pilot, gets put on the back-burner for the series.
Thinking you understand the entire first season's characterization after only seeing the pilot is a very inaccurate assumption.
eta: check out this scene between the Preacher and Bohannon; he certainly isn't totally repentant for being a slave owner.