Essay Home of the Brave

Submitted By linmurk01
Words: 1319
Pages: 6

The Civil Rights Movement began in the late 1950s. It was a social movement in an effort to end segregation and discrimination against Blacks. The movement predominantly took place in the south. There were protests, boycotts and marches taking place throughout the south. Home of the Brave (2004) by Nancy Dickenson, is a documentary addressing the killing of White civil rights activist, Viola Gregg Liuzzo. The documentary does more than addresses the issues of discrimination. Home of the Brave (2004) shows how role conflicts within women, prejudice and racism can affect the lives of many people. We all behave according to our agents of socialization. These topics addressed in the documentary remain present in our society today as minorities and women continue to struggle for social equality. Born on April 11, 1952 in California, Pennsylvania, Viola grew up in Georgia and Tennessee. Her family grew up poor in the south. Viola dropped out of school and left home at 16 years old and got married. She had married a total of three times. Viola had given birth two baby girls with a 2nd husband before they divorced. She later married Anthony Liuzzo and gave birth to three more children. Anthony Liuzzo was a member of the Teamsters; a group that was believed to have ties to the mafia. During this time, Viola had two babies that died. Viola, who was of Catholic faith, gave birth to a still born baby boy. The Catholic doctrine noted that an unbaptized baby would not go to heaven. This has a profound effect on Viola. She became depressed and suffered a nervous breakdown. As a result, Viola was hospitalized for two weeks. It was after this ordeal that Viola personality and actions began to change. She decided to return school. She enrolled in the Carnegie Institute of Detroit where she trained as a medical assist. At the age of 36, she decided to enroll at Wayne State University. She joined the Unitarian church. It was during this time she began learning about the Civil Rights Movement. She joined the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). As civil unrest happened throughout the south, Viola began to grow more interested in with the Civil Rights Movement. On March 7, 1965, Viola watched the marches and protests in Selma, Alabama on television. The marchers were brutally attacked by the police. She said and watched the television in tears as she watched Blacks being beaten by the police. During the march, Dr. Martin Luther King made a plea for others to come join them in Selma for the Voting Rights March. As she watched this, she knew she had to do something. As one of her children stated in the documentary, “She wanted equal rights for everyone, no matter the cost!”
Within the next week or so Viola, a 39-year-old mother of five children left her husband and five children behind in Detroit, Michigan to join the movement. She drove to Selma in her Oldsmobile. It took her a total of three days to get there. In Selma, Viola was assigned to help out at a nursing station and organized transportation for those participating Voters Rights March. While Viola was returning back to Montgomery to pick up of other marchers, a car drove up next her car and she was shot. Viola had been in the head and killed. There was a nineteen year old Black male in the car with Viola named Leroy Monton. Within days, four members of the Klu Klux Klan were arrested for the murder of Viola. All were acquitted of murder, but later found guilty of violating Viola’s civil rights.
Viola was a 39-year-old wife, mother and homemaker. The fact that she left her family behind to join a movement in support of blacks was not the norm for woman. More importantly, it was not expected of a White woman. According to one elderly White gentleman in the documentary, “She had no business in Selma in the first place.” This gentleman’s thoughts were probably based on the roles that were expected of women. I think that Viola’s struggled with issues…