Forrest Carter, author of The Outlaw Josey Wales and the autobiographical The Education of Little Tree, was the ‘storyteller in council’ for the Cherokee nation and a hero to many in the New Age movement. As a leader in the Native American cultural revival of the 1970s, Carter touched millions of readers with his tales of Indian life. Soon after his death, however, the public learned that Carter had a hidden past. Forrest Carter was actually Asa Carter, violent Ku Klux Klansman and Alabama Governor George Wallace’s principal speechwriter, author of the infamous 1963 inaugural address, “Segregation Now! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!”
Much more than a simple biographical film, The Reconstruction of Asa Carter examines ethnic impersonations and the influence they have had in shaping American notions of identity. Through studying Carter, viewers are forced to confront difficult questions: How much of ethnicity is a construction? Is there such thing as an authentic ethnic or racial identity? And what is it about American discourse that makes poeple accept these impersonators so readily, and feel betrayed when their deceptions are exposed?
The screening will take place in Herring Hall and will be followed by a panel discussion with producer Douglas Newman; Laura Browder, Tyler and Alice Haynes Professor of American Studies at the University of Richmond; Fay Yorbough, Professor of United States History at the University of Oklahoma; and Alexander Byrd, Rice University Professor of History.