J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Gone with the Wind”

Favorite Ban

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This is banned book week, when libraries, bookstores, and all things literary celebrate the tomes that have been banned throughout the years for various reasons. It is interesting to see what books made the list. But the amazing part is that they were even banned in the first place, especially here in the states, where freedom of speech and expression are supposedly within our constitutional rights.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_banned_books

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My favorite banned book is Gone With the Wind. I absolutely adore this novel. I always thought it was so amazing that Margaret Mitchell published her book in 1936, and it immediately became a bestseller. Only a few years later, in 1939, it became a phenomenal film that won eight Academy Awards, one of which was awarded to an African-American person for the first time, Ms. Hattie McDaniel, for Best Supporting Actress. The movie also won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Editing, as well as two honorary awards for its use of equipment and color. It was the first color film to win Best Picture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_with_the_Wind_(film)

I have to admit that, since I wrote my novels, the tide of Confederate sentiment has turned. It is quite strange and disturbing, but nevertheless, it has happened. I certainly hope my books don’t make the banned book list because of it, but if they do, they’re in good company.

 

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Happy International Authors Day!

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Today is International Authors Day! In honor of this special day, a blog hop is being sponsored by http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in.  I am giving away one copy of each of my novels, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. Both books are part of the Renegade Series about a family from north Alabama during the Civil War.

I was inspired to write about this time period after reading a book written by my favorite author, Margaret Mitchell. Not only did she write one of the great American novels, Gone with the Wind, but she was only thirty-six years old when the book was first published. It took her about three years to write the novel, which won two awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. A film adaptation starring Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, and Olivia de Havilland was released in 1939, which won several Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to ever win an Oscar), Screenplay, Art Direction, Film Editing and Cinematography. The book was banned at one point, but has now become a cherished addition to American fiction.

Ms. Mitchell was the descendant of Scottish and Irish immigrants. She lived to be only 48 years old when she was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1948. Although Ms. Mitchell’s life was cut short, she was and is an inspiration to those of us who wish to write the great American novel. Ms. Mitchell is the perfect example of how authors use their own personal experiences when writing. Much of her character references and their situations were based on her own family members. It’s strange to think that, if she hadn’t injured her ankle and had been forced to stay home recuperating, perhaps the novel never would have been written. Although Gone with the Wind is somewhat controversial today, what with all the negative references in the present political climate to the Confederacy and the Confederate battle flag, the novel will always portray a fascinating, significant part of American history.

To enter the contest, please shoot me an email at jdrhawkins@gmail.com. Thank you so much and good luck!

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Controversy Can Make Great Publicity

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After talk of banning the movie “Gone With the Wind,” something fascinating happened. On Friday, the movie was the overall best-selling Blu-ray feature film on Amazon’s US website. It outsold new releases, including “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “American Sniper.” Not bad for a 75-year-old movie.

It appears that many people are afraid the movie will be pulled from Amazon, just like “The Dukes of Hazzard” television show. “Gone With the Wind,” which has been available in numerous editions on video since 1985, has been criticized for its romantic portrayal of slavery and the Confederacy. Warner Bros., which has owned “Gone With the Wind” since 1996, has no intention of withdrawing such a lucrative film. “Gone With the Wind” has sold more theater tickets than any other film.

Controversy about the Confederate battle flag has also dramatically affected sales. A flag company in Huntsville, Alabama refused to stop making the battle flag, otherwise known as St. Andrews Cross, after the flag was blamed for a mass shooting in South Carolina. Since then, Alabama Flag & Banner has received so many orders that they are backlogged.

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“I’m not aware of another company in the United States making these flags,” said owner Belinda Kennedy. “We are getting absolutely swamped. It’s let up a little but what we’re finding is that people are still wanting the really pretty sewn, the ones that are more like a piece of art with the sewn stripes and the applique stars. Those are really labor intensive and it takes a long time. We’re still being flooded with orders for those. We’re getting tons of overseas orders. We’re going as fast as we can… Just by the outpouring of support I’ve gotten from all over the world, I know for a fact I’m doing the right thing,” she said.

Just goes to show you what a little controversy can do.

International Authors Day

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I have been asked to participate in a group blog in honor of International Authors Day. One of the topics we were asked to write about is our favorite book. Mine is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. It has long been a favorite, and I try to watch the movie at least once a year. After becoming a Civil War author myself, I found her compelling drama to be even more sweeping and inspiring, and the love/hate romance between Rhett and Scarlet is forever timeless and compelling.

Now because of current events, the book and everything in relation to the Confederacy has been put in the spotlight. I think it will be interesting to see if politicians decide the book needs to be banned again. Hopefully, the issue of the Confederate battle flag won’t escalate to that proportion.

In honor of International Authors Day, I am giving away the first two books in my Renegade Series, A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. Both are part of a continuing saga about a family from North Alabama, and how the Civil War impacts them. To enter, send your email address to jdrhawkins@gmail.com.

This blog hop is sponsored by Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay at http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in/. Thanks to all the authors for participating, and good luck!

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The War against the Flag Rages On (But You Can Win!)

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Since I posted on my blog last week, numerous developments have occurred in regard to the desecration of the Confederate battle flag. Not only have several big box stores vowed to discontinue sales, but Apple has taken down some of their games as well. Since then, sales of the Confederate battle flag have doubled. TV Land has stopped showing The Dukes of Hazzard, and rumor has it that Facebook will not allow postings of the Confederate battle flag (we’ll see if this gets posted).

NASCAR C.E.O. Brian France said that the flag is an “offensive and divisive symbol.” However, he somewhat changed his stance. Instead of banning the flag from races, he has offered a flag exchange, and is asking that spectators fly the Stars and Stripes instead of the Confederate battle flag this weekend in honor of Independence Day.

Ft. Sumpter has furled its Confederate battle flags, and all Confederate flags are being removed from the entrance to Stone Mountain. Some nut is even circulating a petition to have Stone Mountain blown up.

Baltimore’s mayor and city council have taken up a proposal to remove three Confederate monuments in the city. And Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wants something even worse. He has announced a proposal to have the bodies of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife exhumed from Forrest Park (recently renamed Health Sciences Park by Wharton and the city council), and moved to Elmwood Cemetery. He would also like for the statue of General Forrest to be removed from the park. There is no word as to where the city would move it, or if they plan on moving the body of General Forrest’s grandson, who is also buried at the park. Absurdity reigns.

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The Ku Klux Klan has stated that they will march in South Carolina later this month to protest the removal of the Confederate battle flag. In my opinion, this is derogatory to the cause. Because of them and their racist views, the Confederate battle flag has been associated with them. However, most of us know this is not the case.

It’s bad representation like this that gives fuel to the fire of anti-Confederate nonsense. In a recent poll taken by USA TODAY/Suffolk University, the country is split on whether or not to do away with the flag. According to the poll, 42% believe it represents Southern history and heritage, while 42% believe the flag is racist and should be removed. More than half of whites who were polled believe the assault in South Carolina was an isolated incident committed by one lone gunman, and one-third say “it reflects a larger problem of racism in America.” However, among African Americans, three out of four say the battle flag reflects racism.

I would say that hypersensitivity is part of the problem. Why is it that three-fourths of blacks view the flag as racist? I’m sure part of the reason is because of the way the flag, and white Southerners in general, are portrayed by the media. Here in Sioux Falls, a local television station broadcast this story:

“A Sioux Falls couple feuding with their neighbors is flying the Confederate flag, hoping to offend people they don’t like who live close by. What would you think if this was your neighbor?”

Really? I find the wording to be offensive and misleading. We don’t know what their feud is about, or if there even is a feud. Is that really why they are flying the flag, or are they just proud to be from the South? Who knows, but in this case, it’s bad reporting. The cartoon below, which recently appeared in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, is also very offensive. Associating the Confederate battle flag with ISIS is horrendous, to say the least.

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So what happens now? Will the flag continue to vanish, whether we like it or not? Why don’t we get a say in the matter? Why haven’t these issues been put to a vote? And what will this lead to? Will all books with the flag on the cover, historical or otherwise, be banned? Will all movies be banned as well? Gone with the Wind is already under scrutiny, and you can forget about ever seeing The Birth of a Nation on TNT again.

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In honor of the Confederate battle flag and those who fought under it, I am running a contest throughout the month of July. Please send an email to jdrhawkins@gmail.com stating what the flag means to you, and you will be entered to win both of the first two books in the Renegade Series – A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. It’s my intention to show the Confederate flag in a positive light and educate people about the Southern cause, so please help spread the word.

General Sherman’s March to the Sea

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Today marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the end for the Confederacy in the Eastern Theater. On November 15, 1864, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman led his Union troops on a rampage, sweeping through Georgia while reeking havoc, destruction, and terror on the citizens of the state. It was Sherman’s idea that war should be inflicted on the weak and innocent: no one was immune. “Total war” began two months earlier, when General Philip Sheridan’s Union army stripped the Shenandoah Valley of its resources.

After capturing Atlanta, Sherman’s Federal forces set off for Savannah on November 16. Intending to destroy all Confederate supply surpluses, Sherman also granted liberties to his soldiers that today would seem obscenely, politically incorrect. Some of his orders were as follows:

“… should guerrillas or bushwhackers molest our march, or should the inhabitants burn bridges, obstruct roads, or otherwise manifest local hostility, then army commanders should order and enforce a devastation more or less relentless according to the measure of such hostility …

“… The army will forage liberally on the country during the march. To this end, each brigade commander will organize a good and sufficient foraging party … who will gather, near the route traveled, corn or forage of any kind, meat of any kind, vegetables, corn-meal, or whatever is needed by the command …

“As for horses, mules, wagons, &c., belonging to the inhabitants, the cavalry and artillery may appropriate freely and without limit … Foraging parties may also take mules or horses to replace the jaded animals of their trains, or to serve as pack-mules for the regiments or brigades.”

– William T. Sherman , Military Division of the Mississippi Special Field Order 120, November 9, 1864

Sherman’s orders were not strictly enforced, so many “bummers” took advantage of defenseless civilians. Margaret Mitchell’s classic  “Gone With the Wind” portrays Southern characters engulfed in the trials of the tumultuous “march,” particularly those of Scarlet O’Hara.

Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

Today marks the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle began on July 1, 1863, and lasted through July 3. Prior to the battle, Union forces, coming from the south, collided with Southern troops travelling from the north. After the first day of battle, General Robert E. Lee’s Confederates were victorious, but by the end of the third day, following Pickett’s famous charge, the battle was considered to be a draw. It wasn’t until several days later that Union General Meade’s Army of the Potomac learned they had won the fight. The battle was a pivotal one in that, from that time until April 1865, the Union army started winning battles, and ultimately won the war.

Every year, a large reenactment takes place in Gettysburg, and this weekend is no exception. Last year’s event was colossal, since it was the 150th anniversary of the battle. However, thousands of reenactors from all over the country are expected to participate in this year’s event, which is called “The Last Great Invasion.” Reenactors wearing authentic clothing and using authentic weaponry camp out over the weekend in Civil War tents. A period ball is held, complete with ladies dressed in beautiful gowns. Battles are staged, as well as living history demonstrations.

An estimated 100 cannons and 400 horses (cavalry) will be involved. And for the first time, “Traveling Tara” will be there, which depicts everyday life in a Civil War home. The name is taken from Tara, Scarlett O’Hara’s home in Gone With the Wind.  The battle reenactments will take place on the Yingling farm – the same site where the movie Gettysburg was filmed 20 years ago.

On Monday, July 7, the National Park Service has granted permission to stage a photo shoot on Little Round Top and Devil’s Den. This is the first time they have allowed it since 1992, when The Killer Angels was filmed there. Reenactors are invited to participate. All in all, the presentations during this weekend will be nothing less than spectacular, and will give spectators a glimpse of what fighting and living during a Civil War was really like.

For more information, check out

http://www.gettysburgreenactment.com/

67th Anniversary of Disney’s “Song of the South”

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William Faulkner said: “The past is not dead! Actually, it’s not even past.”
 
The cool winds blew through the Georgia pines during those bitter sweet days of autumn during a Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah time in Atlanta.
 
Hollywood in 1946 was a grand year for movies many of which have become classics like:
“The Best Years of Our Lives,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Big Sleep,” and “Song of the South.” that won the 1947 Academy Award for the best song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”
 
At the suggestion of the Junior League and the Uncle Remus Memorial Association of Atlanta, Georgia Walt Disney and RKO Pictures agreed to hold the world premiere of Song of the South on Tuesday, the 12th day of November, in the year of our lord 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia. The theater chosen was the Fabulous Fox Theater http://www.foxtheatre.org/ on Peachtree Street.
 
The premiere of “Song of the South” is said to have been inspired by the gala events surrounding the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” that had drawn a half-million people to Atlanta seven years earlier and which the Junior League had also sponsored.
 
Walt Disney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney  made his introductory remarks for “Song of the South,” introduced the cast, then quietly left for his room at the Georgian Terrace Hotel across the street. It is written that he paced the floor and smoked cigarettes in nervous anticipation of how Atlanta would receive his movie.
 
“Song of the South” put the Wren’s Nest on the map which is the beautiful home of author Joel Chandler Harris located on Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., formerly Gordon Street named for Confederate General and one time Georgia Governor John B. Gordon, in Atlanta’s Historic West End District. 
 
Joel Chandler Harris was born in 1848 in Eatonton, Georgia, where he served as an apprentice on a plantation during his teenage years. He was Associate Editor of the Atlanta Constitution where on July 20, 1879; he published “The Story of Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox as Told by Uncle Remus.”
 
Harris lived at the ‘Wren’s Nest’ a Queen Anne Victorian house from 1881 to 1908 and penned many of the Br’er Rabbit tales on the porch. Take a step back in time and join the good folks at the Wren’s Nest for daily tours and storytelling every Saturday at 1 pm.
 
Song of the South is a wonderful collection of stories that includes a blend of live action and animation, based on the popular ‘Uncle Remus’ stories by Joel Chandler Harris. It is set in the Old South after the War Between the States. The story begins with young boy Johnny (bobby Driscoll) who is sent to live on a Southern plantation with his Grandmother (Lucile Watson) while his parents are considering divorce. The movie also stars the wonderful Hattie McDaniel of “Gone with the Wind” fame.
 
Johnny is cheered up by a Black-Southern story teller Uncle Remus (James Baskett) who tells the young boy and other children tales about Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear whose delightful adventures are illustrated in cartoon form. Each story has a morale that Johnny carries into his daily life. 
 
The original book of Joel Chandler Harris is hard to find and the movie’s last release was about thirty years ago. Uncle Remus, please tell us another good story.
 
Country singer Don Williams’ song ‘Good ole boys like me’ begins with….
 
‘When I was a kid Uncle Remus he put me to bed, with a picture of Stonewall Jackson above my head.’
A good bedtime story for your children and grandchildren might begin with….
 
‘Now, this here tale didn’t happen just yesterday, nor the day before.’Twas a long time ago. And in them days, everything was mighty satisfactual. The critters, they was closer to the folks, and the folks, they was closer to the critters, and if you’ll excuse me for saying so, ’twas better all around’—-Uncle Remus from Disney’s Song of the South.
 
Have a Zippy Doo Dah Day!
 
(Reprinted with Permission)
By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., Speaker, Writer of short stories, Author of book “When America stood for God, Family and Country” and Chairman of the National and Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month committee.http://www.facebook.com/ConfederateHeritageMonth
1064 West Mill Drive, Kennesaw, Georgia 30152, Phone 770 330 9792 or 770 428 0978

Colorado Desperadoes (Part 1) – The Infamous Doc Holliday

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Although he never fought in the Civil War, John Henry “Doc” Holliday was a product of that war. His father fought for the Confederacy. His cousin by marriage was Margaret Mitchell, who wrote “Gone with the Wind.”

Doc was born on August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia. The family moved to Valdosta, Georgia in 1864. In 1866, when Doc was 15, his mother died of tuberculosis. He became fluent in Latin, Greek, and French, and obtained a degree in dentistry in Philadelphia. He didn’t practice dentistry for long, though.  He was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and only given a few months to live.

Thinking that a dryer climate would slow his deteriorating condition, Doc moved to Dallas in 1873 and took up gambling because it was more profitable. From there, he moved to Denver. Hearing about the discovery of gold, he traveled to Cheyenne, and then to Deadwood. By 1877, Doc had become accomplished with a gun. He met Wyatt Earp in Texas, along with “Big Nose” Kate, who became his lifelong companion. In 1878, he defended Earp in a saloon fight, which took place in Dodge City, Kansas.

In 1880, Doc travelled to Tombstone, Arizona to meet up with the Earp’s. It wasn’t long before trouble found him. Wyatt had been dealing with problems caused by the “Cowboys,” and the situation escalated. In October 1881, the conflict exploded in what became known as the Gunfight at the OK Corral. The situation in Tombstone grew worse. Virgil Earp was seriously wounded, and Morgan Earp was killed. The Earp’s left town, but later, the body of Frank Stilwell, who was one of the Cowboys, was discovered near the railroad tracks, riddled with buckshot. The Earp’s returned to Tombstone to meet up with Texas Jack Vermillion. From there, the posse rode out on what became known as the Earp Vendetta Ride, and killed other members of the Cowboys, including “Indian Charlie” Cruz and “Curly Bill” Brocius. Because there was a warrant out for Doc in the killing of Stilwell, he decided to return to Colorado.

Doc was arrested for murder in Denver on May 15, 1882 under an Arizona warrant. Wyatt asked his friend, Bat Masterson, who was Chief of Police in Trinidad, Colorado, to get Doc released. Masterson convinced Colorado’s Governor Pitkin to refuse Arizona’s extradition. Doc was released in Pueblo two weeks later. He and Wyatt briefly met up in June 1882 in Gunnison. On July 14, one of the notorious Cowboys, Johnny Ringo, was found dead. His death appeared to be a suicide, but controversy surrounds it. Speculation arose that Wyatt and Doc returned to Arizona to do Johnny Ringo in, but it has never been proven.

After traveling to Salida, Doc went to Leadville for a short time. His health was rapidly deteriorating, worsened by severe alcohol and laudanum use. Told that the hot springs would improve his condition, he went to Glenwood Springs. The sulfuric fumes did just the opposite, however, and it wasn’t long before his health failed. He spent his last few days in the Hotel Glenwood. His final words reflected the irony of his situation, because he always thought he would be the victim of an assassin’s bullet. Looking down at his bootless feet, he said, “Damn, this is funny.” He died on November 8, 1887. He was 36 years old.

Doc was buried in Linwood Cemetery, on a mountaintop overlooking Glenwood Springs. Speculation exists as to whether he is actually buried there, since the ground might have been frozen. He was either buried in an unmarked grave to prevent grave robbers from desecrating the corpse, or in Potter’s Field, which was a section of the cemetery set aside for blacks and paupers. He was penniless at the time of his death, so this is a possibility. The records showing exactly where his body was located within the cemetery were lost.

According to research, he only killed three people in his lifetime. However, it is possible that he never actually killed anyone. He was involved in several altercations, and let his reputation grow as a murderer. Virgil Earp told a reporter from the Arizona Daily Star in March 1882, that “There was something very peculiar about Doc. He was gentlemanly, a good dentist, a friendly man, and yet outside of us boys I don’t think he had a friend in the Territory. Tales were told that he had murdered men in different parts of the country; that he had robbed and committed all manner of crimes, and yet when persons were asked how they knew it, they could only admit that it was hearsay, and that nothing of the kind could really be traced up to Doc’s account.” The violence experienced during the Civil War was carried on through the settling of the Wild West, and Doc Holliday was one result of that time.

Hello Dolly!

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Dolls have always been an integral part of American culture, and during the Civil War, they served more purposes than just posing as playthings. Dolls were frequently used to smuggle desperately needed medical supplies across enemy lines. Drugs were stuffed into the dolls’ china heads and, in fact, one such doll was recently discovered.  Bisque and porcelain dolls wearing patriotic clothing were hot items during the War Between the States, especially in cities, where more families could obtain European imports. In rural America, handmade dolls made of rags and corn husks provided comfort, and were important contributions to a society fragmented with political unrest and turbulence.

After the war ended, dolls evolved as far as detail in their design, but they still carried a message of patriotism, especially once WWI broke out. Kewpie dolls were all the rage in the Roaring 20’s, but during the Great Depression, no one could afford dolls, so paper dolls were invented. The 30’s also brought us the very first collectible doll, which was none other than Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone with the Wind.” And WWII gave us G.I. Joe. Fashion dolls, such as our beloved Barbie, appeared in the 1960’s, as did the first African American dolls with realistic features.

Still, the Civil War forever remains in our psyche, and collectors are still able to purchase doll replications of famous generals and not so famous soldiers. Just for fun, here is a link to a website that offers some of these collectors’ items. Fiddle-dee-dee!

http://www.dollsamerica.com/ciwar18.html

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