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Another race-related documentary film I watched today was Banished, from PBS' Independent Lens series.  From the Independent Lens site:

From the 1860s to the 1920s, towns across the U.S. violently expelled African American residents.

Today, these communities remain virtually all white.

As black descendants return to demand justice, BANISHED exposes the hidden history of racial cleansing in America.

At least 12 different counties in eight states banished their black populations. More than 4,000 black residents were expelled from their homes.

The film takes the approach of visiting four of the counties where this occurred, discussing the historical events as well as examining the towns today.  What it finds is that the counties remain almost completely white and that they are generally of two minds regarding blacks: either they still aren't welcome or they are (even though somehow that doesn't translate into any residents of color).  I tend to think about this kind of thing as being long ago in the distant past.  However, the film shows footage of  a visit to Forsyth County Georgia in 1987 (75 years after blacks were driven out) by a group of whites and blacks who planned to march in honor of MLK and in memory of what had happened in that county.  They were met by huge crowds of people from the KKK and other racist organizations who made it abundantly clear with signs, shouts, and even thrown rocks how unwelcome their visit was.  This was only twenty years ago.  It was also interesting to see the difficulty in coming to resolution about what happened...the conflict between the fact that these black folks basically had their land and property stolen when they were driven out long ago and the fact that the current owners were not the wrongdoers but rather just people who happened to buy land that at some point in the past was stolen.  Like the documentary about the Little Rock high school, this film left me depressed about where we came from and how far we apparently still have to go.

I give it 5 out of 5.

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