Giving credit where it is due

No one can understand the pain that was felt by the parents that lost children in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama in 1963. Not even Spike Lee after filming the entire documentary Four Little Girls. The documentary talk to the families of the children that died during the bombing, to get a deeper insight into what was lost that day, and what Birmingham was like for Black people during that time. One of the girls that was killed in in the bombing was Denise McNair. Her father, Chris McNair was one of people interviewed the most about his daughter and the bombing that killed her. Although it is possible that Spike Lee used Chris McNair as a stand for himself during the film I have one major issue with it.Chris McNair, father of 16th Street Baptist Church bombing victim, dies at  93 - The Washington Post

Here is a picture of Chris McNair, holding a picture of his daughter Denise McNair, the day after her death in the church bombing.

I feel like saying that he is a stand in for the director Spike Lee is not giving Chris McNair himself enough credit for what he did during the documentary. It would have been unimaginably difficult for the people in the film to talk about the death of their children. Chris McNair himself even testified against Robert Chambliss, one of the men that planted the bomb that killed his daughter, in court. This was an extremely dangerous and brave thing to do, because it could have easily made his family even more of a target. By saying that he is a stand in for Spike Lee, it is giving all of the powerful things that Chris McNair had done and said to someone else. Spike Lee did an incredible job directing the film Four Little Girls.¬†His work should be recognized and appreciated. Separate from Spike Lee though, Chris McNair’s bravery should also be recognized and appreciated.



6 thoughts on “Giving credit where it is due

    • I feel the same as Alyssa with this subject. While artistically it is fun to entertain and because of Spike Lee’s habits of self-inserting himself into his movies, it is easy to make this connection. However, a deeper analysis reveals Chris McNair’s full character and how separate this is from Spike.

      • I agree with you both, I feel like Eliza articulated well how this take could come off as inconsiderate to the pain of the families. Agreeing with what Patrick says, I think that when we look deeper into Chris McNair, we can see how the pain he experienced drives a wedge between his ability to be Spike Lee’s stand in.

        • I am also agreeing with you all. I don’t necessarily think Chris McNair was a stand in for Spike Lee; he was representing himself. He was showing his own heartache and sharing his own, and very personal, story in relation to his daughter and the incident. That is something Spike Lee could not insert himself in, because those intense emotions cannot be shared nor portrayed by someone else.

  1. I really love the fact that you do not want to take away anything from Mr. McNair. He is the one who has had to deal with the awful violence and racism that took his daughter away from him. Spike has not done any of that, I fail to see how that is even a conversation worth having!

  2. I absolutely agree with you. Spike Lee did an amazing job with the film, but Chris McNair suffered so much with the loss of his daughter and through his life, and Spike Lee had never gone through that. Spike Lee does not deserve to take credit for that.

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