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Out of the mouths of babes

We never know when and where inspiration will strike. For me it occurred one evening in July around 8:00 pm. My husband and I were reading the children’s biography Gordon Parks by Carole Boston Weatherford to our three-year-old son. My little darling happens to be in the “why?” phase. While we read he asks questions, makes comments about the pictures and the story, and often he wants to flip back to the previous page if we have moved on without providing a satisfactory answer to his multitude of questions. For example, if a character is illustrated frowning, he might ask, “Is he not feeling very well?” To which I answer, “No, he’s feeling sad.” Followed of course by, why? “Why is he sad?” My husband is an educator so he chimes in with, “He is sad because some people are not treated well because of the way they look and that’s not very nice. People should be treated the same.” And this goes on and on.

This night he asked a question that made me wonder. When he saw the iconic photo of Gordon Parks’ American Gothic he asked, “Who’s that?” The short answer was in the book, a woman named Ella Watson. I wondered what happened to Ella Watson, her daughter, and her grandchildren. So I started to research her on the Internet, which made me more curious. As I continue to research what has become of the Watson family I wonder if this documentary will be a shining example of the American Dream come true. Or will this film be a harsh reflection of societal inequality that has resulted in the cycle of generational poverty. I suspect reality will be somewhere between these two extremes. Whatever the outcome I look forward to answering my son’s question. This film, like everything I do, is for my son.

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