U.S. History in Film

Prof. McClurken’s HIST 329 — Fall 2008

The Long Walk Home

Wow! What a great movie, what an emotional movie, and what a pertinent movie. With it being exactly one week after the election of our nation’s first black president, I could not stop thinking about how monumentous that election really was as I watched The Long Walk Home. I was born in 1987 and grew up with blacks, I went to school with them, played with them, and interacted with them in myriad ways everyday. For many of this generation Obama’s candidacy was definitely different, but it was far from unthinkable or unbelievable.  We, and in fact most Americans, did not consider his race to be a deciding factor either way. That can be attributed to Obama’s personal choice to not be a “race candidate”, but it is also a testement to how far many Americans have come in accepting non- whites in positions of power and prestige.  I have heard pundits in the press say things to the effect of “it’s about time” or “it took long enough”. I too am glad this day has finally come for America, but watching a film that depicted the very painful reality of segregation that existed only fifty years ago really put things into perspective. In the 1950s blacks were “a different species” and frankly I think we have come a long way. My parents were born in 1953 and 1954, my grandparents were raising their families when the repugnance of racism was at its most raw. Although racism is still visible in very real and heartbreaking forms, for those leaders of the civil rights movement who are still around, what was at one time inconceivable is now a reality.

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