Part two, The Reconstruction begins with views of a battered and beaten south in which the formerly wealthy Cameron family has been reduced to rags and renting out rooms in their mansion. The head of the Stoneman family travels south with his protégé, a mixed race man called Lynch. With the help of black soldiers they turn white voters away from poll booths and create a landslide election win in which the
is filled with black members. Lynch is elected as Governor General. With laws
being passed which give blacks more rights and infringe on the rights of whites
(intermarriage – the outrage!!) Ben Cameron forms an organisation called the Ku
Klux Klan who band together to threaten and kill black men who attack white
women. South Carolina
Saturday, 2 June 2012
One of the most famous and best films of the early silent era, The Birth of a Nation can be split into two distinct parts. The first part is a story of the American Civil War and features two families, The Stonemans from Pennsylvania and the Camerons from South Carolina. Early on the Stonemans are seen visiting their friends in the south and the beginnings of relationships occur between some of the younger members of the family. There is slight tension in the air though as the Civil War looms in the near future. Fast forward to the war and both families join their respective armies and in the end meet on the battlefield in an incredible battle scene. It is at about this time that the first overtly obvious racism crops up as a group of black militia ransack the Cameron home and search for white woman to abuse. This section ends with a fairly accurate depiction of the assassination of President Lincoln.