This is an excellent and fascinating documentary that I watch on Amazon Prime. It follows the history of the director of the film, Loki Mulholland as he navigates the history of his family. It also includes interviews with Luvaughn Brown, a black civil rights activist, who gives his perspective on American history as well as the civil rights movement, even Mulholland’s family. I felt like the two narratives intertwined to produce a balanced story.
Mulholland’s mom is a civil rights activist who used her white privileges to combat systemic racism in the 60s and 70s era. But as he goes back into his family history, it is revealed this he is the direct descendent of slave owners. Of course, the story that is told to him by his family is that they were the benevolent slave owners. When they told the slaves that they could leave or stay after the Emancipation Proclamation, only one of their 100 slaves left because they were so beloved.
The reality was that they probably only owned about 6 slaves, and only one actually stayed. He continued to explain how his family, and ultimately how he, benefited from being white. The opportunities they were given. And even though his grandmother was a poor sharecropper who worked hard within the real estate business to provide for her family. Even though she did fight the discrimination of being a woman, she never had to worry about her skin being a factor that would keep her from her accomplishments.
He also revealed a lot of things that happened around his family in Georgia. Like the lynching of Leo Frank in Marietta, Georgia. And how the KKK was reborn at Stone Mountain, burning crosses at the top. I actually had family in Marietta, Georgia, and I had been to Stone Mountain quite a bit as a kid. I learned a lot about the history around my own family, which has prompted my own search through family history.
Just a few warnings. There is profanity, the use of the n-word as well as other words. Sexual content mainly consists of mentions of rapes. Violent content includes accounts of lynchings and the pictures from the lynching postcards, as well as details of how these people died slowly, even being burned. It gets pretty detailed.
Despite those warnings, this was engaging and fascinating and prompted my own dive into family and American history, which I think is what a good documentary does – prompts further action and/or investigation. Definite recommend!