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The film The Long Walk Home is directed by Richard Pearce and features Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek. The plot of the movie is set in Alabama. Although this film was released in 1990, it shows the events that took place in Montgomery in 1955 during the famous bus boycott. The film has since then won several awards: for instance, a nomination in the Black American Cinema Society. It reveals how Whoopi Goldberg, acting as Cotter Odessa, a black American woman, works as a maid or nanny for Sissy Spacek, who features as Miriam Thompson. Like other African American families of the 1950s, Odessa’s family is not exceptional. In particular, they face such issues as violence, discrimination, segregation, racism, and poverty. The black community is uncomfortable with the attitude towards them by dominant ethnic groups, and they start boycotts all over the continent. They refuse to board buses so that they can fight segregation. Similarly to other African Americans, Odessa decided to walk to and from work. Miriam Thompson decided to give Odessa a ride to work twice a week in order she could lessen fatigue and get to work on the appropriate time. She does this to make the long walk home easier. In the city, there are several informal carpools taking place, and most African Americans are not boarding vehicles. They prefer walking to the workplace (Pearce, 1990). There is much tension in the city because of the continuing boycotts. They are the majority riders and pedestrians. The town transport system is suffering greatly as a result of the situation occurred.
Miriam’s offer to give Odessa a ride is not taken positively in the society. Her husband and other members of the white family are not comfortable with her decision. They want the blacks to end the boycotts that their bus companies could stop suffering financially. In this case, they believe that offering Odessa a ride is making her feel like a white. The boycott might not end soon if other white Americans decide to offer the blacks such rides. This circumstance leaves Miriam with a dilemma. She is either going to act in accordance with what she believes is right or succumb to the pressures from her friends and husband (Pearce, 1990).
As a result, Miriam makes a decision of following her heart even after a quarrel with her husband. In fact, she joins a group of other blacks, such as Odessa, and helps them fight for their rights. In addition, she brings up her daughter differently as compared to other European Americans as she shows her that all people are equal. Catherine joins her, and they support Odessa and her colleagues in their fight against oppression. One of the buses used in the movie is the Montgomery line bus that Rosa was riding when she refused to give her seat to a white, and she was arrested. That was the arrest what catalysed the blacks to boycott city buses as a non-violent way of fighting for discrimination and segregation. The bus is in a bad condition by the time the film is released (Pearce, 1990).
In this well-documented film, Miriam Thompson is a kind and mature woman. The bus boycott of 1955 portrays her as a caring woman who does not discriminate people on the basis of their race, religion or ethnicity. She is affected by the fact that Odessa, her maid, has decided to support the bus boycott. Since Odessa has to walk to work and go back walking, she becomes too tired. Sometimes, she does not make to arrive at the working place on time. Therefore, Miriam feels she has to do something to help her (Pearce, 1990).
Odessa is a superb actor who likes being taken seriously. She allows the black skin colour do some work for her. She works hard to ensure her role in the film is well understood. Goldberg’s character wakes up early in the morning and goes at work to take care of Miriam’s family. Odessa spends the whole day at that home. In the evening, she has to go back to her own home and continue performing her routine house chores duties there. The journey to and from her workplace is not so appealing, but she has to do it the same way as her fellow African Americans so that they can fight the discrimination (Pearce, 1990).
When Miriam decided to give Odessa a ride to work, her husband and friends start criticizing her. This issue indicates that there is not only racial but also gender discrimination. In this case, the two characters have to fight for feminism, against racial discrimination and segregation. Odessa and Miriam follow their beliefs as guidance. Even when Miriam is asked to stop offering Odessa a ride so that the Blacks could end the boycott, she does the opposite. Similarly, even if the journey to and from the job is very tiring, Odessa chooses to continue follow this schedule in order to support with the boycott. She is ready to fight for her rights until she achieves them guaranteed. Miriam’s daughter joins the fight against gender discrimination and racism as well. She helps her mother and Odessa in their fight against oppression of woman and African Americans. They form a powerful civil rights movement that bears fruits in the long run (Pearce, 1990).
Odessa, Miriam, and Catherine are common citizens who decide to take the risk and overthrow the segregation. The women are focused to change the order of things perceived to be normal for a long time. The situation they are in makes them behave the way they do because they are firm in their beliefs. They are ready to risk their lives. They believe the risk will come with a price that will satisfy them. These women are not discouraged by their family members or friends. Since Miriam was brought up in a family where there was no segregation, she disliked this phenomenon. She wanted all people to be treated in the same way.
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