Upon reading the daily prompt, Zip, the first thing that came to mind was the song, “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah … what a wonderful day.” It’s from Walt Disney’s movie, Song of the South. Released in 1946, this live-action animated musical takes place shortly after the end of the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery.
Some think the portrayal of Uncle Remus and the cartoon characters depict African Americans in a racist light — they use black vernacular and depict”the good times” of working on a plantation. Racist? I can see that. I can also see the love and kindness.
Johnny, the white boy living in the “main” house, befriends Uncle Remus who tells him stories of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear.
Because of the controversy, protests by some African Americans at the release of the movie and more, Disney decided in the 1980’s not to release the movie on VHS or on DVD in the US.
But, Change.org has a petition out there to have the film released to the American public so we can “learn from history” and can make our own decisions.
Here’s what I know. The clips I watched of Uncle Remus are loving and kind. When Johnny is seriously injured, it is Uncle Remus he calls for on his “death” bed. Johnny reaches for his friend. I love this:
At the end of the movie, Johnny and his two friends (one white, one black) are joined by Uncle Remus as they march happily up a hill.