On the evening of March 21, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson hosted a special screening at the White House of a film titled, “The Birth of a Nation.” The film was directed by D.W. Griffith and based on a novel by Wilson’s good friend, Thomas Dixon, titled, “The Clansman.” The film presented a distorted portrait of the South after the Civil War, glorifying the Ku Klux Klan and denigrating blacks. The film portrayed blacks as violent against Southern whites, and sexually forcing themselves upon white women. The Klan was portrayed as the South's savior from the alleged tyranny of a savage black population.
After the film, an enthusiastic Wilson reportedly remarked: "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true."
Except, it wasn’t.
Black audiences openly wept at the film's malicious portrayal of former slaves. White audiences largely cheered. The film swept through the country, serving as a factor behind riots breaking out in major cities like Boston and Philadelphia. Some cities refused to allow the film to be shown. Gangs of whites roamed city streets attacking blacks in retaliation to what they viewed in the film. In Lafayette, Indiana, a white man killed a black teenager after seeing the movie. Thomas Dixon reveled in its triumph. "The real purpose of my film," he confessed gleefully, "was to revolutionize Northern audiences that would transform every man into a Southern partisan for life."
Woodrow Wilson, the racist Democrat, was proud to have hosted the film at the White House.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary
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