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John Paul Figaro History Professor Gary Reconstruction Paper Reconstruction policies proved to be the seeds of failure in American race relations in the 19th century Reconstruction demanded the Negroes freedom their civil rights the opportunity for economic freedom education and the right to vote This idea of Negro equality was the most controversial aspect of radical reconstruction and violence was one of the means used to undermine Reconstruction Racism and violence have proved to be interrelated factors in American society In the words of WEB Du Bois The slave went free stood a brief moment in the sun then moved back again toward slavery The Southern whites ideology expressed certain propositions about the black man in society The abolition of slavery ended the institution but not the system of beliefs assumptions and values they held concerning the Negro Within the context of this white supremacist ideology racism flourished The black man was viewed as being part of a caste system where they were relegated to the bottom of the social classes with no legal status In the movie The Birth of A Nation the director DW Griffith interprets the social reality and justifying policies of the Southern white in the 19th century The tone of the movie infers that blacks are inherently inferior and are incapable of appreciating the freedom given to them We are introduced to images of the contented slave working complacently in the field to the freedman who has been corrupted by the Scallywags and Carpetbaggers to the comic Negro in his clownish clothes dancing and performing and to the vicious Negro renegade who attacks a white woman The contrast between the Negro and the Southern white is established not only by characterization but also by southern attitudes and mannerisms Griffith is re-creating the southern ideal of what it meant to be part of a higher civilization with values and an outlook that shaped the souths history He
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