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An African American History Month Special: A Look at "The Wind Done Gone," a Parody of "Gone With the Wind" Told From a Slave's Perspective

February 21, 2002
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In 1965, the week before he died, Malcolm X wrote, "You have to realize that up until about 1959, Africa was dominated by the colonial powers. And by the colonial powers of Europe having complete control over Africa, they projected Africa always in a negative light-jungles, savages, cannibals, nothing civilized. And you and I began to hate it. We didn’t want anybody to tell us anything about Africa, and much less call us an African. And in hating Africa and hating the Africans, we end up hating ourselves, without even realizing it. Because you can’t hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself."

Malcolm X always emphasized the importance of knowing African American culture and history. Today, we are going to look at some sketches of African American culture.

??The Wind Done Gone is Alice Randall’s "unauthorized parody" of ??Gone with the Wind, the 1936 epic saga by Margaret Mitchell. More than any other, that classic story of Scarlett O’Hara has defined the country’s image ofthe antebellum South.

But Alice Randall’s version of the story brings to life the people who move on the margins of Gone With the Wind. Randall wrote The Wind Done Gone from the perspective of Cynara, Scarlett O’Hara’s half-sister, the daughter of a slave and a white plantation owner. Cynara’s diary of life as a mulatto at Tara mansion before the civil war and during Reconstruction reveals the story left untold about the racial underbelly of southern gentility. The book is a scorning rebuttal to what author James Carroll called "the most damning lie America has ever told itself": slavery.

Renowned African American scholar Henry Louis Gates calls Randall’s work "a classic parody, in a long line of literary creations that extend back to the ancient Greeks."

Alice Randall graduated from Harvard in 1981 and moved to Nashville to become a country songwriter. She is the only African-American woman in history to write a number-one country song, and has recorded over twenty songs, including two top ten records. But Randall had to fight the battle of her life against the Mitchell estate to publish her first novel, The Wind Done Gone. We are going to turn now to the story of the making of The Wind Done Gone, produced by the Radio Griott project, which airs on Pacifica station KPFK in Los Angeles. This piece is written and narrated by Roy Hirst.

Tape:

  • Documentary: "The Making of The Wind Done Gone, a novel by Alice Randall"

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