Desegregation: 50 Years Later
September 25, 2007 1:20 PM
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the day that nine black teenagers, escorted by 1,200 soldiers, desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. This is something I would expect to see on the History Channel tonight, but it’s appearing on HBO in a quasi-documentary entitled “Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later.”
I haven’t seen a preview copy of this controversial film, but I’ve been reading about it a lot today. The film’s thesis is that 50 years later, the students there remain “self-segregated,” with the only difference being that today, African American students no longer have to have soldiers escorting them to school.
The documentary, according to what I’ve been reading, is more visceral than truly historical, consisting of footage from that momentous day and interviews with students who say nothing has really changed. According to the New York Times today, the film airs without statistics or comments by experts, or even narration, and some critics think the film’s producers could have dug deeper.
Bottom line: I’m glad some network at least attempted to scratch the surface to get to the unvarnished truth about desegregation. So today’s question: Is this a thought-provoking documentary or revisionist history?