Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hilary Green's "Educational Reconstruction"

Hilary N. Green is Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Gender and Race Studies at The University of Alabama. Born in Boston, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. She is a specialist in nineteenth-century American history, with emphasis on the African American experience, Civil War Era and Atlantic World.

Here Green dreamcasts an adaptation of her new book, Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890:
I would be extremely honored if Ken Burns incorporated my work into a possible multi-episode documentary on Reconstruction. Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Kerry Washington, and even Oprah would be perfect for dramatic readings of several individuals whose biographies carry throughout the work.

But, if Hollywood ever adapted Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890, there are some actors and actresses who might play the lead and supporting roles:

Maria Waterbury – A white northern missionary in Mobile who passionately argued for the continuation of African American public schools when competing school boards vied for control while simultaneous could prevent her young students from a mini-rebellion during Confederate Memorial Day celebrations. Amy Poehler could bring the necessary feistiness to light.

Rev. A. E. Owens – From his convincing roles as Ray Charles and Django, Jamie Foxx would be brilliant as the young minister who opened his church’s door amid arsonists’ attempts to shut down Emerson Institute and Normal.

Rev. E. D. Taylor – With his strong presence, Morgan Freeman would be a natural fit to play the elder minister who regularly spearheaded petitions for the improvement of the schools, spoke at school events, and appeared before the school board on several occasions.

Daniel Webster Davis – As a young poet, educator, and minister, Daniel Webster Davis was always called upon for delivering an inspiring speech to students, parents, and community leaders as well as an insightful poem for any gathering of Richmond Colored Normal graduates. Therefore, Common would be an excellent choice.

Rosa Dixon Bowser – As an early educator, wife of James Herndon Johnson and later widow who fought for the rights of early public school teachers and civil rights more broadly, Jurnee Smollett-Bell would be perfect for the younger Miss Dixon and Kerry Washington for the elder Mrs. Bowser.

Ralza Morse Manly – Nicholas Hoult would be perfect as the Freedmen’s Bureau Superintendent of Education of Virginia, early Richmond school board member and early principal of Richmond Colored Normal and High School.

For the director, I would be extremely happy to have Ava Marie DuVernay. Her ability to capture the nuances of historical figures and bring African American history alive would make her a nature choice.
Learn more about Educational Reconstruction at the Fordham University Press website.

Writers Read: Hilary Green.

--Marshal Zeringue