The Fuzzy Racial Glow of 'The Help'

Author Nelson George writes in the New York Times that The Help is a small domestic drama that avoids looking at the tumult of the civil rights era.

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Scene from The Help (DreamWorks)

Author and filmmaker Nelson George writes in the New York Times that The Help is a domestic drama that avoids the racial tumult of the civil rights era.

THIS year I took Highway 80 from Montgomery to Selma, Ala., reversing the journey of activists in three separate civil rights marches in March 1965. My destination was the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the National Voting Rights Museum at its base. The infamous Bloody Sunday protest, March 7, 1965, in which several hundred marchers were beaten by state troopers at the bridge is commemorated at the museum, a long one-story building dedicated to "the foot soldiers of the movement," the husbands and wives, schoolkids and churchgoers who overcame their fear to dramatize their desire for the unimpeded right to vote.

Inside the museum footprints of many of the marchers are captured in concrete, Mann’s Chinese Theater-style, along with garments from that day's fateful confrontation. There’s a model of a Selma jail cell around the early ’60s, where scores of arrested protesters were crammed together, and black-and-white photographs that document the day’s odd mix of hope and brutality.

Read Nelson George's entire review in the New York Times.

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