Legacy of Reconstruction

 Description PROMPT: No Hollywood film distorted the history of Reconstruction more than D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation.” Several generations of Americans understand the time period primarily through the film, so the film’s influence is significant and is still felt today. Please watch the following scenes from the film that focus on the portrayal of African Americans in an inaccurate and racist way. The Reconstruction scenes are in the second half of “A Birth of a Nation.” The whole movie and individual clips are available for free on YouTube. The DVD is available at many libraries and can be found on Netflix and Films on Demand. One of the scenes that best exemplifies historical distortion and racism is the segment from the South Carolina statehouse. Other good examples are scenes with the KKK, whose members are portrayed as heroes. “The Birth of a Nation” – South Carolina statehouse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4v_yRFf4-Y “The Birth of a Nation” – scene with the KKK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX9nLttjVTA After viewing the film, please answer the following questions in your reflection: What seems to be the legacy of Reconstruction according to Griffith’s film? Compare that to Foner’s assessment of Reconstruction. After the film’s release in 1915, the NAACP and others tried to have the film banned or censored. Discuss the First Amendment issues that arose from the film’s release. Should “The Birth of a Nation” be shown in public today?

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