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'The Help' A Movie I Can Relate To

Updated on February 18, 2019
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Claudette Carter has been a writer for more than 30 years. Graduated from Widener University and enjoys focusing on positive things in life.

I Was a Child Domestic Worker in the South

I sat in the movies with tears in my eyes, as memories of racism pillaged my heart. I was a child of, The Help, a film that swept the country with critical acclaim. How rewarding it was to see this movie win, #SAG Award's, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. It was also inspirational to see #Viola Davis win, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. Her acceptance speech was humbling when she stated, "I was eight years old when I decided to be an actor, and I am just so privileged to be gazing on the beautiful face of the woman who inspired me that beautiful day, and that's #Cecily Tyson."

Octavia Spencer played Minny, the sassy best friend of Aibileen, Viola's character, also won SAG's best supporting role in The Help. The characters played by both women, were a source of inspiration to any woman who is a nurturer. These type of roles represent so
many individuals within our society. They inspire and encourage others to be the very best they can be. With great anticipation, The Help might be a forerunner for the Oscars at the end of the month. We shall wait and see.

Audience members stood up and applauded, #The Help at the end, which was an outstanding piece of creativity. This brought tremendous joy to my very soul because what was once a part of my history, brought others joy rather than embarrassment. I was raised in the small town of Mullins, South Carolina during the mid fifties to early seventies. Racism was prevalent and I often tried to deny that I ever lived within the constraints of this form of slavery. Today, I can humbly and honestly proclaim that I was a child of the help, as well as a maid and field hand myself. Having served in these capacities, spurned within me a determination to succeed in life. The adversities experienced by many of the characters in this movie, The Help were chilling and realistic. Memories of those difficult times continued after I left the theater.

I watched one of the main characters, Minny interact with her children, especially the oldest daughter who also had to go out, and become a maid as well. That scene truly touched my heart as I remembered how, my momma explained what I would do when I went to work in her place for a few days. I was about thirteen years old. Momma came home from work one day, sick with a bad cold. Her hands were bruised and drawn from arthritis. Momma held my face, as her hands trembled. She started to explain, how Mrs. Reynolds wanted her house cleaned. I had to do it perfectly, otherwise, momma's job could be in jeopardy. Another maid would come in that day to do the cooking but I had to clean from seven in the morning to about three that afternoon. I was out of school for the summer, so I felt proud to do that for my momma. There was no child labor laws, especially for black children, in the south at that time. My brothers and sisters started work at the ages of about eight or nine years old. We would hand string tobacco or pick cotton during the summer. Momma, worked hard to take care of ten children. My two older sisters, also worked as maids and two older brothers worked in tobacco and cotton as well, while in high school, to help momma make ends meet. Each child worked so that we could eat and pay for the layaway, of our school clothes. We were all thrilled to help.

My first day as a maid was with Mrs. Reynolds, who lived in this huge house on the east side of town where most of the white people lived. When I arrived for work, she looked at me, laughed and said, "Girl, you ain't no bigger than a stick. Go get something to eat before you start scrubbing these floors." I could remember those words because Mrs. Reynolds took me to the kitchen where Mable, the other maid had baked biscuits with fresh peaches. I am still amazed that I can remember that experience. But consider this, I was about thirteen, hungry and it made me happy because Mrs. Reynolds, was nice to me. After I ate, the floors were mopped and furniture was dusted. I completed all my work, with a smile on my face and a full stomach. I went home that afternoon happy and proud to tell my momma, what a wonderful job, Mrs. Reynolds said that I did. I went to work in momma's place again the next day. Everything I was told to do, was completed early. She gave me my mom's pay for the week which was about twenty dollars. Mrs. Reynolds, then handed me seven dollars which she said was just for me. I knew that I was rich. I jumped up, then down and hugged her. Seven dollars was a lot of money at that time, although I had worked for two days.

The movie, The Help brought back all those memories. Some were good and some were detestable. Living in a time where racism was prevalent, caused me to hate some of those memories. Even as a child, I worked for some people who were nice and some who were ignorant and filled with hatred. I can recall when momma cried because my two brothers were beaten by a gang of white boys because they were black. These were perilous times. Those times, made me the woman I am today. I am truly thankful, to have brothers and sisters of all colors. It does not matter whether they are white, black, yellow or brown. I can honestly say, I serve the true God Jehovah and his son Jesus Christ. Within this arrangement as a true christian, my brothers and sisters are, "out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues," states Revelation 7:9 #New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures We all love and serve our Heavenly Father, respect and love each other and our neighbors. Movies like, The Help and memories created based on racist experiences, will one day be a thing of the past. We should all look forward to the elimination of those oppressive times. May we all share great anticipation for a time when, the days of racism, will no longer exist in the near future, based on the kingdom Jesus taught us to pray for. What a joyous time that will be.


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