The history of African Americans in early Hollywood films originated with blacks representing preconceived stereotypes. D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film, Birth of a Nation, stirred many controversial issues within the black community. The fact that Griffith used white actors in blackface to portray black people showed how little he knew about African Americans. Bosley Crowther’s article “The Birth of Birth of a Nation” emphasizes that the film was a “highly pro-South drama of the American Civil War and the Period of Reconstruction, and it glorified the role of the Ku Klux Klan” (76). While viewing this film, one would assert that the Ku Klux Klan members are heroic forces that rescue white women from sexually abusive black men.
Society has always been influential to fads that are displaced throughout media; the public witnesses a direct mirror of themselves and current culture portrayed on movie screens, musical lyrics, and televisions scripts. During the 1990s, African-American filmmakers depicted stereotypical black youth and culture in films such as Do the Right Thing (1989) and Menace II Society (1993), otherwise known as the “hood” films. However, as much to the popularity and success of the hood films, there was great opposition to it. Historical movies like Daughters of the Dust (1991) and Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) were created to argue against hood films to portray a different African-American community that is not racialized. I am going to compare and contrast both the hood and historical films Edward Guerrero and Paula Massood both believed that the hood film was created for the benefit of portraying reality in African-American communities.
The Civil Rights Movement brought many accomplishments to African Americans such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The key issues that African Americans fought for were voting rights, integration and racial equality. They were tired of the discrimination and humiliation they received as a result of the segregation laws imposed on them. “State laws mandated racial separation in schools, parks, playgrounds, restaurants, hotels, public transportation, theaters, restrooms and so on” (Blumberg 40). Lawsuits had been tried to gain rights such as the unsuccessful Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 and the successful Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
Chris Layne Professor Madar US. History 122.01 New Chapter in American History Imagine living in a world at which you are harassed and abused just because of the color of your skin. Since the beginning of America’s existence, Whites have had this strong hate towards the black population. The whites wanted to continue to have the power and control in their hands. In order for them to achieve this, the white southerners came up with the Jim Crow laws to prevent the African Americans from achieving their god given right of being free and equal.
Do you agree that Martin Luther King was the most important factor in the helping blacks gain more Civil Rights in the 1960's? In the 1950s and 60s blacks were considered as second-class citizens of the US, this was evident as they were totally ignored by the rest of America. Even though slavery was abolished years before but many Southern white Americans had not blacked out the thought. The Americans themselves had just come out of a very deadly war, which was fought to defeat racially prejudiced leaders such as Hitler who believed in a superior race; but still in America the cause they fought for was still lurking in their homeland. Blacks had also fought in the war and felt content that when they return home life would change for the better, but that wasn't quite the case when they returned.
These films are meant to say that, this is your history and it’s all you will ever be. For example, movies such as 12 Years a Slave (2013), The Help (2011), and The Butler (2013). My position here is, in each movie there is the essence of what the race is supposed to look like, in both the ' 'Help ' ' and the ' 'Butler blacks were the maids, and the butlers, why? In 12 years a slave was about a free black man during the mid-1800s, but was sent back into slavery for 12 years for mistaken identity; thrown back into the fire after his burns were healed. The movies were consistent in reminding the minority blacks that there is no way out.
These Hollywood movies contain many inaccuracies that draw away from the true impact minority athletes had during the Civil Right Era. Although these films do depict the racial components of the time, they do not depict the accurate occurrences of the stories they try to recreate. The Civil Rights Era became a time in American history when people began to reach for racial equality. The main aim of the movement had been to end racial segregation, exploitation, and violence toward minorities in the United States. Prior to the legislation that Congress passed; minorities faced much discrimination in all aspects of their lives.
Regardless, African American performances have always had the ability to express elements of the African American community on the big screen. For decades these skills were hidden by racist producers and directors. American society was not ready to see the genius, sophisticated skill, and powerful themes that come from African American culture. These films not only help to show the life's of African Americans, but that of all American society, future films will help audiences measure how far America has come in regards to racial tolerance and how far yet, they must go. Works Cited Friedman, L. (1991).
African Americans believed that they were finally getting their chance at equality, but unfortunately white supremacy quickly became apparent. The legal segregation of African Americans from whites in transportation, education, businesses restaurants, public restrooms and other public places became known as Jim Crow Laws. After decades of inequality, the Civil Rights era erupted in the 1950s and African Americans began to demand equal treatment. The Civil Rights Era brought on various social movements in the south and north, as well as legislative decisions that pushed for a truly equal nation. The era of Civil Rights brought on strong resistance to oppression and eventually helped diminish Jim Crow laws.
Throughout American History, many minorities have fallen victim to cruel discrimination and inequality, African Americans were one of such minorities that greatly suffered from the white majority’s upper hand. After the end of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period following it, many people, especially the Southern population, were extremely against African Americans obtaining equal rights in the American society. Due to this, these opponents did everything in their power to limit and even fully strip African Americans of their rights. The Supreme Court case of Plessy v Ferguson in 1896 is an excellent example of the obstacles put forth by the white population against their black counterparts in their long and arduous fight for civil liberty and equality. Even though the court upheld the discriminatory Louisiana law with an 8-1 decision, John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in the case played a significant role in the history of the United States for it predicted all the injustice African Americans would be forced to undergo for many more years, mainly due to this landmark decision.