(March 23, 2020) The latest example of Hollywood’s tendency to lie about Southerners is a movie titled The Banker. It’s about two black bankers in the 1950s who are forced, because of racism, to use a white man as a figurehead to manage their Texas banks. Unfortunately, the banks get involved in shady practices that result in their failure.
Eventually all three men were called to testify before a Senate Banking Committee hearing chaired by Arkansas Senator John McClellan who is portrayed as an inveterate racist. McClellan is depicted as telling the blacks that if they admit to taking advantage of regulatory loopholes that the Senator wants to close they will avoid prosecution. But if they claim racial discrimination is the root of their problems, McClellan implies they will be convicted in a racially bigoted Texas court. In the Hollywood version the two blacks are convicted by an all white Texas jury after testifying at the McClellan hearing that the regulators targeted them merely because of their race.
In reality, however, Senator McClellan’s conduct toward blacks during Jim Crow was nuanced. While he supported school segregation the two-minute video below shows him protecting a black Federal employee whose rights were being abused during the 1954 McCarthy hearings.
Hollywood has enormous power to shape cultural attitudes worldwide. Unfortunately, they have an anti-Southern agenda that portray’s the adult white Southerners of my youth as racist the the nth degree. As Carlos Eire put it in his book, Waiting for Snow in Havana, “Show me history untouched by memories and you show me lies. Show me lies not based on memories and you show me the worst lies of all.”
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The Confederacy at Flood Tide by Philip Leigh
Trading With the Enemy by Philip Leigh
Lee’s Lost Dispatch & Other Civil War Controversies by Philip Leigh
Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh
U. S. Grant’s Failed Presidency by Philip Leigh