Wednesday, June 23, 2021

It Wasn't Over

I've been watching the HBO series based on Colson Whitehead's novel The Underground Railroad. It's very good, though parts are hard to watch. It amazes me what I don't remember from the book, though I remember enough (SPOILER ALERT) to know I don't have to fear the ending for the main character, at least. And that lets me go on watching. 

I think I have a different reaction to reading trauma than seeing it portrayed on screen. Maybe because I can skim when reading or just not process the words into my brain, while even shutting my eyes when watching isn't the same. It still gets in.

A thread I saw on Twitter this morning ties into the book's story in a much-too-updated way. It was prompted by a Vice video made by a young Black film-maker who talked to an elderly Black man who was essentially still enslaved in the U.S. South until the early 1960s. The creator of the thread, @makeenz, reports that her great grandfather was kidnapped by a white family when he was 12 and forced to work for them until he was in his 40s. The rest of the thread is her retweeting other people reporting similar things from their families' histories. 

The creator of the Vice video, Akil Gibbons, has his own production company, which includes a substantial number of pieces for Vice on topics like the FBI's hunt for "Black Identity Extremists" and the lack of compensation to people who have been freed from prison through the work of the Innocence Project. He also worked on the excellent drug war documentary, The House I Live In.

Some people don't want any of us to remember this country's history from any period. Other people are are doing their best to make sure it gets remembered.

1 comment:

Bill Lindeke said...

It's so good and so hard to watch.