60 Minutes recently aired an interview with Nate Parker, the producer, director and star of the movie "Birth of a Nation" about Nat Turner and the slave rebellion he led in 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia where approximately 60 white people were killed and more than 200 slaves and blacks were killed in retaliation.
The interview took an unexpectant turn when the focus shifted from the movie's historical significance to unfounded allegations from Parker's college days. Nate Parker has accumulated 24 movie and tv credits since 2004, but now that he has produced a movie depicting a slave as a hero for killing white slave owners in retaliation for the injustice and oppression they inflicted; Parker has become the victim of character assassination by media outlets who are resurfacing allegations of rape from almost two decades ago.
Parker and Jean Celestin, who co-wrote "Birth of a Nation" were teammates on the Penn State wrestling team in 1999 when a white female student claimed she was intoxicated and therefore could not have given consent when she had sex with them. Both Parker and Celestin claimed the sex was consensual.
As we mentioned in our post about Bill Cosby, false allegations of rape, especially the alleged rape of white women have historically devasted black communities all across America.
Ironically, the myth of black men lusting after white women was perpetuated by the 1915 D.W. Griffith film that Nate Parker borrowed the title of his film from. The original 1915 "Birth of a Nation" glorified the Ku Klux Klan and portrayed black men as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women. "I reclaimed the title and re-purposed it as a tool to challenge racism and white supremacy in America," Parker stated. Because of the 1915 film, membership in the Klan, which included doctors, lawyers, law enforcement officers and ministers, exploded to about 6 million by the mid-1920s. The CEO of AT&T who recently voiced support for Black Lives Matter mentioned how his friend talked about Southern Baptist church deacons being members of the klan.
The accuser admitted she and Parker had previously engaged in consensual sex and Nate Parker was exonerated by a nearly all-white (11 white and one black woman) jury at trial. Celestin was found guilty and appealed, prosecutors later dropped the case. The evidence must have been overwhelmingly in Parker's favor for a nearly all-white jury to acquit a black athlete accused of raping a white woman. The town where the alleged rape occurred, was 83.2 percent white and 3.8 percent Black. The town where the trial took place — Bellefonte Courthouse, Pennsylvania — was 96.3 percent white and 1.5 percent Black. Do you really believe a mostly all-white jury would have let a guilty black rapist off?
Former Penn State classmates also believe Nate Parker was falsely accused. They provided copies of relevant court documents that support their belief in Parker's innocence. The documents are located at factchecktoday .
How many black men and boys (Emmett Till) have been destroyed by false allegations concerning white women? After a nearly all-white jury, determined Nate Parker was not guilty of rape, it was irresponsible for Anderson Cooper to imply Parker was guilty by asking if he was sorry. Sorry for what? Being falsely accused of rape!
Initially, there was Oscar buzz about "Birth of a Nation," but it died down after the Hollywood Reporter quoted members of the Academy who admitted that the controversy had made them less likely to vote for the film – or even watch it. I plan to watch it and I encourage everyone else to see this film as well.
We have been brainwashed by propaganda disguised as history. We celebrate slaveholding founding fathers as liberators, an independence day that was never intended to include us and we even have a holiday for one of history's worst proponents of slavery, Christopher Columbus.
Evidently, mass incarceration of Black men is not enough, even after we've been exonerated in a court of law, we can still be targeted and destroyed by simply bringing up false allegations. Nate Parker was on the path of becoming a great producer, director, and actor, possibly achieving a financial success on par with Tyler Perry. Isn't it strange that when Parker was making films produced by white men, rape allegations didn't surface then?
Personally, I want to see more films like "Birth of a Nation" produced. However, those attacking Parker, if successful, will point to low attendance to prevent future films such as this from being produced in the future. They will say Black people aren't interested in films about their history. These films employ black actors and actresses and tell our story from our point of view.
History has often recorded the successes and achievements a black people are attacked and destroyed because of fear, jealousy, and hate. When we speak out about injustice and oppression in this country, there is a narrative that we are somehow unpatriotic. For example, when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem, the attempted character assassination against him was that he was disrespecting the military and the flag. There is no greater respect a person can display for the concept of freedom and justice than to stand up against those oppressing others. We must stop letting others determine who our heroes are and who we should or shouldn't support!
What Others Have Said
Dr. Umar Johnson
Dr. Boyce Watkins