Filling In For THE HELP

W. Ralph Eubanks, director of publishing at the Library of Congress, points out, as have others, that the movie The Help glosses over “what a truly dark time it was in Jackson” during the Civil Rights era.

In the film, a young woman, Skeeter Phelan, writes a book about the lives of the maids in Jackson, Mississippi, which reflects the tense relationship between whites and blacks during that time.

On NPR’s All things Considered last night, Eubanks says that, in real life, Eudora Welty did something similar, but much darker. She wrote the short story  “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” about the murder of African-American civil rights worker Medgar Evers from the point of view of his white killer, “bravely capturing the feelings that were in the air in Jackson that year.” He concludes, “Whether or not you liked The Help‘s optimistic tone, read ‘Where Is the Voice Coming From?’ to fill in a piece of the story that’s missing from the minute the credits begin to roll.”

The story is included in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (HMH; Mariner trade pbk, 9780156189217).

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