The Outer Banks Voice – Stream On: Unlikely Heroes Malcolm Little and Mamie Till

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Stream On: Unlikely Heroes Malcolm Little and Mamie Till

By Peter Hummers on February 10, 2022

“Don’t be afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. (William Shakespeare, twelfth night)

The 14-year-old son of Chicago mum Mamie Till was killed vacationing in Mississippi in an isolated act of subsumed racism in 1955. She overcame her fears and rubbed the country’s nose.

Petty criminal Malcolm Little converted to Islam in prison, taking the name Malcolm X. He became a black leader and advocated segregation (calling it racial separatism) until he met Muslims of all races on a pilgrimage to Mecca, then aligns himself with Dr. Martin Luther King in his quest to bring the races together, in the face of deadly opposition from white and black separatists.

MALCOLM X

/Amazon /First video /Diffusion /Trailer /1992 /PG13

“We didn’t come here on the Nina, the Pinta or the whatchamacall it. We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock has landed on us! (Malcolm X)

Journalist and writer Alex Haley (who served on the Outer Banks in the Coast Guard during World War II—PDF) collaborated with Malcolm X on the book The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965). First considered a ghostwriter, Haley is now seen as an essential collaborator (he interviewed Malcolm for three years), who muted his own voice out of respect for his subject’s first-person narrative.

In 1992 director Spike Lee embarked on the project of his life when he signed Denzel Washington (Fallen, unstoppable) to play Malcolm in a film based on Haley’s book. James Baldwin and Arnold Pearl (naked city) had developed a script that Lee used with his own contributions. The resulting film was selected in 2010 for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Malcolm X shuttles between moods and eras: the frizzy-haired teenager Malcolm Little (Denzel) has his hair straightened before going dancing with his friend Shorty (Lee). They wear outrageous zoot suits; Malcolm in pastels and Shorty in a giant plaid. On their heads they have huge fedoras with a giant feather swinging over each hat. The mixed dance could be the Blues Brothers scene in the church where Jake receives his call.

Interspersed with these light-hearted scenes is Denzel’s voice-over as Malcolm, mostly narrating black-and-white scenes of his pregnant mother being terrorized in Oklahoma, while her husband, a protege of black nationalist Marcus Garvey, preached at Milwaukee.

His mother was educated, strong, with a very yellow complexion; that is, she could pass as white, “because her mother was raped by a white man”. One of the reasons she married Malcolm’s father was because he was ebony and she wanted her children to have some color. “She was ashamed of the white blood in her.”

The dualities continue: Malcolm is picked up by a white girl (Kate Vernon) at the Bal ; he brings his date home and goes back to meet the blonde, and they kiss in a car. The radio is playing ink stains, a popular vocal group with all demographics at the time. Settling in Harlem, he became the protege of West Indian Archie (Delroy Lindo), a numbers racket, until a falling out sends him back to Boston, where he and Shorty are arrested after a series of robberies.

“There were three things I was afraid of: a job, a bust and prison. But I realized then that I was not afraid of anything. I was an animal.

So the stage is set for Malcolm’s arc – he, a thief, at odds with the dark and white society since its birth, societies that are already struggling to unite, finds common cause with white racists, favored by its difficult prison conversion to The Nation of Islam (which, ironically, provided security on the set filming of Malcolm X, why “ironically” I won’t say), until, during a pilgrimage to Mecca, he meets Muslims of all races and has an epiphany about the common racial construct that puts him at odds with The Nation. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a eulogy to “Brother Malcolm” in a clip shown at the end of the film.

Washington, who won his first Oscar in 1989 for Gloryand who, in 2020, was declared “the greatest actor of the 21st century (until now)” by the New York Times, is compelling in his role, in a gangster film and a spiritual journey that mirrors that of the United States in Malcolm’s later years. 89% reviews on rotten tomatoes.


WOMEN OF THE MOVEMENT

/First video /Diffusion /Trailer /2022 /TVMA

“I wanted the world to see what they did to my boy.” (Granny Till-Mobley)

True Story: Grandma Till, a single mom from Chicago, sent her 14-year-old son, Emmett, to spend a summer with his great-uncle and cousins ​​in Money, Mississippi. Emmett was kidnapped and killed.

It was 1955 and Emmett was black.

The six episodes of Women of the Movement are heartbreaking, revealing, and a tribute to the heroism of perhaps the original mother tiger.

Emmet (Cedric Joe) was as cheerful and easy-going at home as Malcolm Little had been. His mother, Grandma Till (Adrian Warren, Blue blood), had separated from Emmett’s father, but she provided a stable middle-class home, and they had a close network of relatives and friends, including her mother’s boyfriend, Gene Mobley (Ray Fisher, real detective), who had been a barber and Cadillac salesman, and a handsome father figure to Emmett.

But it was summer; the school was closed, and Emmett, along with all the other teenage students, was bored, and Grandma’s uncle, Mose Wright (Glynn Turman, Thread), offered to host Emmett at his home in Money, Mississippi, where his cousins ​​also lived. Grandma was worried, but instructed Emmett on her behavior. Grandma was born in Mississippi, but moved with her family to Illinois before she was three. Still, she had eyes in her head and knew the situation in the South much better than Emmett.

Her worst fears nearly came true when she heard from Mississippi the news of her son’s disappearance. Emmett’s cousins ​​felt as comfortable at Money as Emmett did in Chicago, but they had strict boundaries. They were particularly polite with white people, did not meet their gaze and then called “sir” and “madam”. His cousins ​​thought Emmett knew all of this, but he was an arrogant kid. At a small grocery store, they bought sodas, and Emmett flirted a bit with the cashier. He could have, and probably did, flirt with white girls in Chicago no problem, but this wasn’t Chicago. She was pissed, went to the back and came out with a gun, and the boys scattered. But that night, the girl’s husband and his half-brother came to Mose’s house and dragged away an amazed Emmett.

Shortly after, his body was found in a bayou near the Tallahatchie River, and Roy Bryant (Carter Jenkins, lodge) and JW Milam (Chris Coy, true blood) were arrested and tried for kidnapping and murder.

It was a local problem, but it threatened to get national attention as the trial unfolded, and Mamie, with the help of an NAACP team including Medgar Evers (Tongayi Chirissa) and Ruby Hurley (Leslie Silva), pushed through her well-founded fears to bring her son’s case to the world. The Till case has become emblematic of the disparity of justice for black people in the South and could be considered ground zero for the American civil rights movement.

90% reviews on rotten tomatoes. With Timothy Hutton (A Nero Wolfe Mystery) and Sean Bridger (dead wood).


(Peter Hummers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to generate revenue by linking Amazon.com and affiliate sites. This adds nothing to Amazon prices.)

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