THE LONG SHADOW – THE FILM
“Old sins cast long shadows”
— Danish proverb
Of all the divisions in America, none is as insidious and destructive as racism. In this powerful documentary, the filmmakers, both privileged daughters of the South, who were haunted by their families slave owning pasts, passionately seek the hidden truth and the untold stories of how America—guided by the South’s powerful political influence—steadily, deliberately and at times secretly, established white privilege in our institutions, laws, culture and economy.
The film follows the politics of slavery and the dynamics of oppressing people of color using techniques developed and long used in the south.
Filmmaker Frances Causey was born in segregated Greensboro, N.C. in the early ’60s, “where white superiority was never questioned.” But with family in N.C. and Mississippi, with ancestral ties to slavery era Virginia, as an adult she pondered what she and her family had seen and accepted in “the racist South of my childhood.”
Spurred by eruptions of violence like Dylan Roof’s murderous assault on an African American church Charleston, she wondered about her own family’s place in fomenting America’s racial divide, and being a documentarian she saw a movie in that.
Causey finds historical connections between her family and America’s racial divide, her “Shadow” lengthens into a much broader look at racism in America, the tipping point moments. The film travels far and wide, to the first indentured African servants to arrive in America to their enslavement, from the rise of Jim Crow to the economic and social inequality and race resentment that hobbles the country to this day.
The film includes experts, collected interviews, archival footage and even recorded oral histories of former slaves. An examination of her personal history, this 87 minute movie is a critique of US history.