Tonight I went to see a movie I was keenly interested in due to my family heritage of growing up in a creole family and learning about our heritage. In New Orleans, you know that if you live in a certain neighborhood you are creole. The 7th ward is that neighborhood. My mothers side of the family the Baziles and my grandfathers side the Uptown Taylors were fair or light complexion people who were proud of their blackness and creole looks.
The free state of jones, is a movie that is intermixed with color, race, class, civil war and identity. It’s a war of the poor versus the rich, black versus white, black working with white, etc. The movie was well written. The main characters were well played by Matthew McConaughey (Newt Knight), Gugu MBatha- Raw (Rachel), Mahershala Ali (Moses), Kerri Russell (Serena Knight), Christopher Berry Shane (Jasper, Newt’s close friend), etc.
What struck me is the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about this renegade robin hood of men and women. These were heros who fought off the Confederate hate loving Mississippi soilders during and after the American civil war. I have downloaded the audible book of the same name to read and get a closer feeling of the story beyond the movie. The next chapter to explore is the aftermath of the lives of these characters after the war ended, but during the period of Jim Crow to now. Vicky Bynum wrote The Free State of Jones.
Through research of articles and looking up the family trees of Newt Knight, Rachel, and Serena, you find a tangled web of life. It is a fascinating story. It’s rare that you read, hear of, or see a movie about a white man fighting against other white men so strongly against the civil war, as Newt Knight did. He wasn’t without flaws, but who is! If you haven’t seen this movie, please do so!