Sunday, August 19, 2012
'Stacey Hankin' as a little girl (circa 1922)
Yay! Art again! Sheesh... It's not productive OR fun when one's sick for awhile.
Here is my heroine, as a very tall 7 year old in the year 1921. So that puts her birth year in 1914, and the next year (1915) should be an important year North Americans, as well as anyone else who cares about history, should know. That is the year when the film, "Birth of a Nation" was released in theatres.
What is "Birth of a Nation"? Well, controversial is too mild a word to use.
Simply put, based on a bigot's book by the same name, both movie and book claim that the Ku Klux Klan won the South and freed it from the tyranny of blacks, who were demonized in both the book and film.
The author, whose name I will treat as Harry Potter's nemesis, I will not write it here on my blog, became a celebrity and his viewpoints were agreed by other racists across the country.
When Hollywood got wind of the book, instead of letting this dangerous volume remain within pages, decided it made a good film, no matter how disastrous and historically inaccurate it was!
Now, you see a cute picture of my protagonist and wonder why I am such a downer about mentioning this? Simply put, while researching my characters and their background, I began to wonder, what it must have felt like, being Black, or being any kind of minority, and what were the emotions when this film was released?
What terror could many American blacks have felt? What measures could they have taken to protect themselves and their communities? And worse of all, I have learned that the Civil Rights' Movement did not start in the late 50s and early 60s as many of us are taught in History class, but actually, many decades before.
What damage did "Birth of a Nation" do to the Movement? How much did this book and its companion movie set progress back?
Research this, DON'T use Wikipedia, I implore you, but more legitimate sites to research the author, his book, and the movie.
Maybe the film is even on YouTube, but PLEASE, see for yourself... And ask me why I write this with my character's art.