U.S. History in Film

Prof. McClurken’s HIST 329 — Fall 2008

The Long Walk Home

I struggled with how to frame my blog about this movie. I have plenty to say, I just have no idea how to say it. My biggest fear, in summarizing The Long Walk Home was not an issue of finding something profound to say. Any profundity was found, and made, in the midst of this movie’s hour-forty runtime. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t being trite.

In discussing this movie (through the sobs) to multiple people, I heard many insightful things from many people. The one statement that stuck with me, however, was a friend telling me that “it’s good that you can’t fathom this happening. It means we’re changing. It means we’re maturing.” 52 years later, I do believe we’re maturing but I will hesitate to say that we’ve matureD. I think great steps have been made in thte fact that this movie can induce tears. The violence, racial epithets, and near-Klan meetings are all deplorable to us, and thank goodness this is the case. 

I’m not sure what my point is here, and I do fear that I have essentially been rambling for the past couple paragraphs. As I said in the wiki, this is a hard movie to discuss, because it’s a period that is hard to admit is part of our history. But what made this movie so effective, what made it so AFFECTING, is that it was right. As much as it was a historical document, it was also a cautionary tale, much along the lines of Schindler’s List or, in a non-historical sense, Requiem For a Dream. (Anyone brave enough to sit through either knows how I can make the emotional connection.) These all work as a reminder of how dangerous human nature can be. I just hope enough people are wise enough to pay attention.

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