I went to see "The Help." This is a movie based on a novel about a girl who interviews the black maids in Jackson Mississippi at the start of the civil rights movement. It is funny how the white girls are all suppose to go to college to get their MRS degree. Everyone is disappointed that the heroine got an actual Journalism degree and wanted to work-not get married. Her idea for a book is simple. Tell the story from the point of view of the maids. It was Jim Crow laws and the "country club set" are horrified that their maids use their bathrooms. A couple go so far as to have special bathrooms built in garages for the maids. What the heroine proposes to do can get these maids put in jail or worse--killed. It takes courage and fortitude but these women speak up and she writes their stories. The consequences are not pretty, but fairly told.
I wanted to see this movie because as a child of immigrants, my grandmother left school after 8th grade and went to work first cleaning hospitals then cleaning houses- she cooked, she cleaned, she raised other people's kids. I went for a ride with her through her town a few weeks ago and she pointed and said, "I cleaned that big house for forty years." She has told me in the past that one thing she knows- she knows her place. The difference between my Grandmother and these black women is that she is white and didn't have to battle Jim Crow laws. That doesn't mean she doesn't know what it's like to be "The Help."