This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
What are their negative or positive qualities? Some potential characters to consider include the white mob outside the school, the students, the school administrators, and Link. Do any of these characters fit into the categories we have studied this semester? Whiteness as a sign of potential danger. She was never quite sure whether she could trust a white person or not, with this sense being heightened at Central High. P 81 What if they were going to kill us? Mr. Waylan – the grocer overcharged them by twenty two dollars. 7 - 8 Rapist. Gov Faubus & little rock school board Ike Dwight Eisenhower – white moderate 48 change on 89, only threat tho white reporters 57-58 – apparently interested in integration, but for what reason? Beals saw them as having power. “If I were a news reporter, I could be in charge of a few things.” adm 80 – sacrifice a kid Danny – p 108 keep her alive conspiracy – 143 incident with Minnijean Vince 144 – sideburners light skinned 2. Martin Luther King and the “white moderate” “I have reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is . . . the white moderate who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice . . . Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute mistunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” teacher 75 – ignores hecklig students contrast with Mrs Pickwick 78 “Her voice was sympathetic, as through she cared what happened to me.” p155-156” #2 AP story “Is it that nobody cares, or nobody knows what to do?” 3. Barbarism? Strength? Protection? Defiance? II. The cultural logic of integration. 1. I want to consider Beals in the light of Jacqueline Goldsby and Frederic Jameson. In “A Sign of the Times: Lynching and Its Cultural Logic” Goldsby wrote: “Was viewing the simulation a way to protest the lynching, or did watching amount to a vicarious act of complicity with the southern mob? These questions, raised by Henry Smith's murder and by Samuel Burdett's anguished memories of his place in the crowd, suggest we should reexamine the history of lynching in America, to explore more broadly why mob violence was indeed a 'horror of horrors' for African Americans and how mechanisms of modernity served to mediate the public's experience of the violence at the turn of the nineteenth century” (15). The movie I want to make is to shift the focus to how Beals represents the experience of the struggle for civil rights in her text. There is also some value in examining the visual elements of and visual strategies within the text to critically consider the text-as-commodity or history. The next step, then, seems to require a questioning of how we engage with this text of the African American struggle for civil rights. Lynching was still a tactic of terror used at the time of the integration of Central High School: Mob: “Hang her black ass!” 37 effigy 121 2. In the culture of late capitalism, Jameson claimed there is a “whole historically original consumers' appetite for a world transformed into sheer image of itself and for pseudo-events and 'spectacles' . . . It is for such objects that we may reserve Plato's conception of the 'simulacrum' comes to life in a society where exchange value has been generalized to the
point at which the very memory of use value is effaced . . . In faithful conformity to poststructuralist linguistic theory the past as 'referent' finds itself gradually bracketed, and then effaced altogether, leaving us with nothing but texts” (21-22). A simulacrum is “the identical copy for which no original has ever existed.” For Jameson, postmodern texts are heavily visual and “cannibalize” other texts in their formation. Texts have a preoccupation with history, but it only serves as a referent for the current subject, in my case a white male. The historicity of texts is a problem because the past, then, is viewed through a heavily filtered bourgeois and white nostalgia. ad on p 48 Life 130 3. How do we feel about Beals's conclusion, that the students were warriors in a righteous cause and the integration within her own family? What happened to race relations after the memoir ended? I think the victories of the novel are highly questionable. Instead of being forced to integrate the schools, Arkansas simply shut them all down. The memoir started with then-Governor Bill Clinton and the Arkansas National Guard honoring the Little Rock Nine for their struggles. Yet Beals acknowledged “when I go house-hunting, I am often denied the chosen location because to the person selling the house I am just another 'maid', 'Aunt Jemima, or second class citizen, as always.” I think Beals's nostalgia for her horrible struggle integrating the school and how she later successfully realized it within her own family works against her claims about the endurance of racism. Is this story ultimately about the victory of African Americans in their struggle for rights or about the endurance of racism, segregation, and prejudice? Works Cited Goldsby, Jacqueline. A Spectacular Secret. Chicago, U Chicago P: 2006. [excerpt in course packet] Jameson, Frederic. “Excerpts from Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.” A Postmodern Reader. Albany: SUNY Press, 1993. King, Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” [in course packet]