Films with the theme of racism

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If you enjoyed reading ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry’ then you might enjoy watching some of these movies. They all have the theme of racism as one of their central themes.

‘The Color Purple’ (1985)
Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg, this film is based on the novel of the same name by Alice Walker.

‘The Help’ (2011)
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work. Octavia Spencer won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Minnie.

‘The Hurricane’ (1999)
This is the story of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

‘Mississippi Burning’ (1988)
Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

‘A Time to Kill’ (1996)
Based on the novel by John Grisham, the film is about a young lawyer defending a black  man accused of murdering two men who raped his ten-year old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (1962)
Gregory Peck won an Oscar for Best Male Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Atticus Finch, the lawyer and father who believes that ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’

‘Cry Freedom’ (1987)
South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend and political activist Steve Biko.

‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ (1967)
Matt and Christina Drayton are a couple whose attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiancé who is black.

Each of these films is worth a watch. Comment below if you get the opportunity to watch one over the Easter, or if you have any other suggestions about films with similar themes.

Reading after ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’

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When you have read ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’ you might like to read one of more of the following novels which contain similar themes to Mildred Taylor’s book:

‘The Friends’ by Rosa Guy
Phyllisia comes from the West Indies to stay in Harlem, New York, where she becomes a friend of Edith who is poor and neglected. It is an unusual alliance, but both girls need each other in order to survive the city.

‘Hal’ by Jean MacGibbon
Hal has her own problems, and her strict parents are only one of them. She takes pity on Barry, a friendless and suffering boy who is a mere onlooker at teenage life.

‘Walkabout’ by James Vance Marshall
Mary and Peter are the sole survivors of a plane crash in the Australian desert. An aboriginal boy saves them and brings them back to civilisation, but tragedy strikes as they reach safety.

‘Basketball Game’ by Julius Lester
When Allen’s family move to Nashville, Tennessee, they discover that they are the only black family in the street. Neither Allen nor Rebecca, the girl next door, take any notice of this until racial prejudice places barriers in their way.

‘No Tigers in Africa’ by Norman Silver
Teenager Selwyn Lewis emigrates from South Africa to England, hoping to leave a guilty past behind. But his strict upbringing prevents him from making friendships and his inherited prejudice creates his own problems. The effect of a white South African upbringing is seen quite starkly in Selwyn’s dilemma.

‘The Keeper of the Gate by Beverley Birch
When twelve-year old Sarah comes home to Kenya after a holiday in England she sees Africa in a different light. A mystery develops around the figure of Muniri, and the truth about the Africa she loves lies beyond the solution to this mystery.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
Set in the Deep South. Scout and Jem Finch help their lawyer father to defend a Negro charged with the rape of a white girl. A remarkable novel that captures the atmosphere of a hostile town and its way of life. Like Mildred D. Taylor’s book, the story is seen through the eyes of children.

‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’

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So far, in ‘Roll of Thunder’ we have met some interesting characters and read about some shocking incidents. Over the next couple of days, I would like you to write a comment about who is your favourite character and explain why. I would also like you to describe an incident in the story that you find particularly horrifying / shocking / upsetting or that has made you feel any other emotion. Remember to comment on what other students have written – you may agree or disagree with someone else’s opinion. Remember that our goal here is to share our learning.

I look forward to reading your comments!

Mrs. Meighan