These women, so swift to kindness, so tender to the sorrowing, so untiring in times of stress, could be as implacable as furies to any renegade who broke one small law of their unwritten code. This code was simple. Reverence for the Confederacy, honor to the veterans, loyalty to old forms, pride in poverty, open hands to friends and undying hatred to Yankees.
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone With the Wind in 1926 when she was 26. The book was published by Macmillan in June of 1936. By the end of December 1936 the book had sold one million copies even though it had a high price, for the time, of $3.00. Reviews were generally positive, and thus the tome being awarded a Pulitzer Price in 1937. The film rights to the book were sold on July 7, 1936 for the then unheard of price of $50,000.00.
As of 2010 the book had sold 30 million copies, despite recent attacks on it by individuals amazed that people in the past did not have 21rst century views on race and many other topics. Ironically, for her time, Mitchell was a racial liberal. She funded scholarships for black students, for example, at Morehouse College and helped fund the first hospital for blacks in Atlanta. She became friends with the actress Hattie McDaniel who became the first black to win an Oscar for her role as “Mammy”.
During World War II Mitchell threw herself into the war effort, including raising funds, christening ships and writing letters of support to servicemen. She died on the evening of August 16, 1949, five days after being run over by a car while she and her husband were on their way to a theater to see a movie. It was not Gone With the Wind.
As fellow blogger Paul Zummo noted yesterday:
Once upon a time it took months and even years for the next level of absurdity to be realized. In modern America it only takes hours.
Now the film critic for The New York Post wants to relegate Gone With the Wind to the museum:
Warner Bros. just stopped licensing another of pop culture’s most visible uses of the Confederate flag — toy replicas of the General Lee, an orange Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard’’ — as retailers like Amazon and Walmart have finally backed away from selling merchandise with that racist symbol.
That studio sent “Gone with the Wind’’ back into theaters for its 75th anniversary in partnership with its sister company Turner Classic Movies in 2014, but I have a feeling the movie’s days as a cash cow are numbered. It’s showing on July 4 at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the museum’s salute to the 100th anniversary of Technicolor — and maybe that’s where this much-loved but undeniably racist artifact really belongs. Continue Reading
“You can tell your grandchildren about how you watched the Old South fall one night.”
Rhett Butler to Scarlet O’Hara, Gone With The Wind
With the taking of the last rail line out of Atlanta due to the Union victory at the battle of Jonesborough, go here to read about it, Hood wasted no time in ordering the evacuation of his army from Atlanta. Many Confederates at the time would have agreed with the fictional Rhett Butler that the fall of Altanta likely meant that the Confederacy was going to lose the War. Their great hope had been that Lincoln would lose his bid for re-election, and with the capture of Atlanta that hope vanished overnight as it was now clear, North and South, that the Union was winning the War.
By 5:00 PM Hood ordered his troops from Atlanta. Many of the Confederates sang the romantic ballad Lorena as they marched off, a touching factoid missed by the makers of the film Gone With the Wind in their Atlanta falls sequences. Continue Reading