Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Joel Chandler Harris

The above dummies were a gift from Walt Disney to the Harris family at the time of the 1946 premiere of Song of the South.

Here is a very interesting article on the life of Joel Chandler Harris, creator of Uncle Remus, and his continuing presence in the Atlanta area. His home, The Wren's Nest, is a museum dedicated to his work and to storytelling. The museum also has a blog, which covers material about Harris and preservation issues in Atlanta.

While Song of the South has been controversial for years due to its racial content, Harris himself was targeted during the Civil Rights era for appropriating Black creations and commercializing them. The museum prefers to view Harris as a preservationist, someone who put the oral folklore of Black slaves in a permanent form and saved it for future generations.

While the museum is trying to rehabilitate Harris himself, there's seemingly no interest in rehabilitating the Disney film. Click on the poster below for the museum's view of Song of the South.

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