“If You Do Not like the Past, Change It”: The Reel Civil Rights Revolution, Historical Memory, and the Making of Utopian Pasts

dc.contributor.advisorReed, Linda
dc.contributor.committeeMemberYoung, Nancy B.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberMizelle, Richard M., Jr.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberHales, Barbara
dc.creatorPegoda, Andrew Joseph
dc.creator.orcid0000-0001-6068-6196
dc.date.accessioned2018-12-06T17:55:44Z
dc.date.available2018-12-06T17:55:44Z
dc.date.createdDecember 2016
dc.date.issued2016-12
dc.date.submittedDecember 2016
dc.date.updated2018-12-06T17:55:44Z
dc.description.abstractHistorians have continued to expand the available literature on the Civil Rights Revolution, an unprecedented social movement during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s that aimed to codify basic human and civil rights for individuals racialized as Black, by further developing its cast of characters, challenging its geographical and temporal boundaries, and by comparing it to other social movements both inside and outside of the United States. Thus far, they have barely scratched the surface when it comes to either historical memory or filmic texts. This dissertation, then, provides an in-depth examination of both how Hollywood films from the 1990s to the present represent the Civil Rights Revolution and how individuals evaluate these films. Given that movies mirror a society’s hopes and fears and tell more about the time in which they were made than the time portrayed, they prove to be important cultural and social barometers of society at large. Selected films, along with almost 3,500 reviews from Amazon, are the focus of this examination. This dissertation argues that Hollywood manifests and perpetuates the on-going struggle of coming to terms with the past. Films ignore evidence and consistently minimize and delete the activism of Black people, while maximizing the generosity, forethought, and understanding of White people. Additionally, everyday people accept filmic representations of the past as epitomizing undisputed, utopian truths. Studying historical memory reminds academics that there is always a gap, sometimes quite large, between the past, how the past is documented, how trained historians study the past, and how society understands the past.
dc.description.departmentHistory, Department of
dc.format.digitalOriginborn digital
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10657/3687
dc.language.isoeng
dc.rightsThe author of this work is the copyright owner. UH Libraries and the Texas Digital Library have their permission to store and provide access to this work. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of this work is prohibited except with permission of the author(s).
dc.subjectHistory
dc.subjectCultural studies
dc.subjectAmerican studies
dc.subjectFilm studies
dc.subjectCivil rights
dc.subjectBlack History
dc.subjectRhetorics
dc.subjectPhilosophy of film
dc.title“If You Do Not like the Past, Change It”: The Reel Civil Rights Revolution, Historical Memory, and the Making of Utopian Pasts
dc.type.dcmiText
dc.type.genreThesis
thesis.degree.collegeCollege of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
thesis.degree.departmentHistory, Department of
thesis.degree.disciplineHistory
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Houston
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy
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