A few weeks ago they showed the reworked story of the epic slave drama “Roots”. All of the white critics complained that it made white folk look horrible. Duh – yes, what their ancestors did during slavery was horrible. In fact, in my view, it was the greatest crime known to mankind. They have always told the story the way they wanted to tell a story. Usually with more lies than true, but people are more knowledgeable today and don’t believe that “BS” about how happy the slaves were or how good they were treated.
About a hundred years ago, “Gone with the Wind” told a story about the mythologized Old South of wealthy planters and obedient slaves to which white folks viewed with great fanfare. I suppose that made them feel better about how great things use to be. This week, a very different sort of story is being told about the Civil War and Reconstruction era called the “Free State of Jones” will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the War and Reconstruction, and the public would do very well not to take the film seriously. This was done primarily done to appease the guilt of their souls.
This movie challenges our many misconceptions of the Civil War and Reconstruction and attempts to make it different than it actually was. I will call it the whitewashed virgin to promote a dialogue about what may have been possible more than a century ago, in other words – a fantasy with a white man the hero – not the devil. The “Free State of Jones” is based on a true story, or so they claim, of interracial resistance to the Confederacy in Civil War Mississippi. It is a story of how a white farmer from humble origins came to see how the Confederacy favored the rich planters at the expense of men and women like himself. So he chose to organize a rebellion aimed at establishing a terrain of freedom, a “free state,” in the county of Jones.
There were, in fact, thousands of white men and women, they say, might have felt like this in the Confederate South. The strongest resistance to the Confederacy came, not from poor white folk, but from those who were destined to be its main victims: the slaves. In Mississippi and elsewhere in the Confederate South, they took the opportunity of the War to flee their plantations and farms, head to Union lines, or form Maroons in swamps and remote woodlands, denying slaveholders the labor and submission that had been expected. During his own battles with the Confederacy in rural Jones County, this white man forged alliances with African Americans, most specifically one slave with whom he developed an intimate relationship.
The interracial alliance that appeared to be developing in Civil War Jones County truly blossomed during Reconstruction. In effect, this white man joined the African Americans’ fight against local Confederates who were determined to “win the peace” through the mechanisms of black codes, apprenticeship laws, and vigilante terrorism that federal pardons issued by President Andrew Johnson had made possible. Doesn’t this make your eyes water! This reminds me of today, when every white person alive at the time of the Dr. King’s March on Washington says they were there.
The advent of Radical Reconstruction in 1867 enabled this white guy and his black allies to build a movement that made a new dawning of freedom; emancipation, citizenship, political rights, access to land and economic independence, which sounds a lot like King’s Dream Speech, more than a reality. Supposedly, they organized their ranks, voted in the face of violent intimidation, claimed office, and attempted to fashion an example of interracial justice that would, in fact, survive the counterrevolutionary backlash of the day, known as Redemption and live on in a variety of important ways.
It is a breathtaking fantasy, and one that gives the lie of the long-standing demonizations of Reconstruction. This film unlike the “Birth of a Nation” and “Gone with the Wind” seared into public memory and instead demonstrates that the courageous efforts of ordinary black and white people brought a new nation into being not the racist one that was in reality. It kinda sounds like that lie – “all men are created equal”.
In my view, this movie “Free State of Jones” is the happiest of all horse shit. This is just another half-hearted attempt for them to rewrite history, soften the horrors and abuse of the institution of slavery; in other words, a new chapter to the lies of His-story. Yet, it’s been centuries, and no white person has made such a thing for black people a reality! I’ll close by saying that creating and telling despicable false rendition of this “BS” is what they do – easing their guilt and shame for the evils sins of their fathers. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…