“THE GREEN BOOK” was awarded the Oscars last night for best picture of the year and paints a picture that we should not forget. It is about Donald Waldbridge Shirley, a classical concert pianist who died in 2013. He was also a black man and the principal character in “The Green Book”.
In a nutshell, the movie is about a concert tour through the Deep South by Dr. Shirley at a time when segregation was thoroughly anchored in the laws and customs of that part of the country. In 1962, the civil rights movement of the 60s was struggling to get off the ground and people of color, like Dr. Shirley, were treated shamelessly by white people as if African.
In the movie is a vivid reminder of the injustices that black people have had to endure since before slavery began. It also casts racism into bold relief and helps us appreciate why putting on
“black face” is such an offensive and racist action.
The movie takes its name from a real “GreenBook” which listed the motels where “colored” people were welcome. (Needless to say, all hotels and motels in the Deep South would not allow nonwhites to book a room.) Based on a true story, the movie recounts how Dr. Shirley hired a New York, night club bouncer, to be his chauffeur and his bodyguard. While the story that follows is entertaining and has a “feel good” ending, it is really a provocative, consciousness raising drama that sharply points out the crime
Boston’s housing history
Shame is the word that comes to mind when we reflect upon Boston’s racist past. Though slavery ended after the Civil War, it took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to outlaw discrimination based on race, the color of one’s skin, religion and national origin
Boston has come a long way from discriminatory housing of the 60’s and 70’s, but we still need to remember the past so we don’t repeat it in the future.