Two minutes ago, I finished watching “The Birth of a Nation” episode of the PBS series, Independent Lens. This hour-long program explored D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film "The Birth of a Nation". As the ending credits rolled, I realized it was time to blog.
I knew Birth of a Nation, originally titled “The Clansman” is considered by some to be an early cinematic masterpiece. More importantly, it is also widely seen as the most racist film ever made, promoting the worst of stereotypes and hate.
Viewing the program, I learned the film promoted the Ku Klux Klan and was used by that organization as a recruiting tool. With its use of white actors in blackface, and southern sympathies, it significantly shaped white racial attitudes in the Jim Crow years. Watching helped build my knowledge of the work of great men such as W.E.B. DuBois, William Monroe Trotter, Harvard’s first black Phi Beta Kappa and influential Boston newspaper editor, the significance of the Niagara Movement, and the racist attitudes and actions of President Woodrow Wilson.
I learned so much new in sixty minutes.
This outstanding program once again, demonstrated how most white people only know a very small portion of our true American history. We must to ask ourselves what we never see and why much of our history is hidden from us. We must ask ourselves why and what we must do to identify, hear and accept the truth.
Watch the program!
Consider these question from the Understanding What It Means To Be White And Privileged Journal:
It is time to question everything!
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Tom Schweizer a facilitator, speaker and author of Understanding the What It Means To Be White And Privileged Journal. Tom can be reached directly at journalwp.com