I’ve got to say, work is so much more fun when you actually enjoy what you’re doing.
After working for several months on a project that was not really up my alley, I got offered another position to work on an actual show. Turns out it’s an actual investigative reality show on civil rights. Finally, I get to work on something I’m passionate about.
This particular show is focused on sundown towns. A little background:
Historically, sundown towns were all-white towns that banned blacks from being in their towns after dark. While you may be thinking that it would be primarily a southern affliction, most sundown towns were in the north. Since the south relied so heavily on their slaves, they could not afford to lose them at the end of the day because they needed them early the next morning. However, in the north most slaves only helped out around the house and were not needed in the evening.
These towns made it their life mission to remove blacks from their towns, often with violence. Signs were found outside towns all across the U.S. saying things like “N***** don’t let the sun set on you here,” warning blacks of the dangers of staying in those towns after the sun went down. Some towns even blew a whistle at 6 pm signaling the end of the work day and time for all of the day workers to get the hell out of dodge.
While most of these towns no longer exist in the literal sense, the mentality remains in so many parts of the county, pervasive hatred bred by years of racist thinking. Some famous sundown towns, like Darien, CT and Vidor, TX, still systematically keep their towns segregated by putting in place housing ordinances and systematically shutting minorities out of their communities, creating pockets of all-white communities across the country.
The goal of our show is to expose some of the lesser known towns and hopefully bring some awareness to the people of America. Those who say that racism is long gone have to open their eyes. Even if you can’t see it (though seriously, have you been living under a rock?) does not mean it’s not there. In a country where we have the highest instances of racism, partially due to the first elected black president in our history, racial tensions are high. Proving that there are still problems in our society in relation to equality on all fronts may remove some of the dust cluttering our vision of the so-called “American Dream.” For many, it is still just that: a dream. Bringing awareness to such a ubiquitous and systemic problem is the first step in making a change.
I’m just one person and I can only do so much, but I feel proud to be working on a show that’s goal is for the betterment of society and is not focused on finding the next Duck Dynasty meets the Kardashians.