Racism, Society and the Vietnam War in the 1960’s in Forrest Gump

2418 Words Mar 6th, 2012 10 Pages
Memories can be formed in many different ways. Often times they are images and sensations that one can associate with a time or event in the past. A certain smell can have the effect if transporting you to a special place that you remember dearly. The creation and retention of memory is both conscious and unconscious, with the end result being a stored piece of information that can be dug up at any given time. More intriguing are the memories an individual can have about a time or place they have never experienced in their lives. In this case, it could be said that these are more the work of preconceptions and assumptions. Through word of mouth someone born in the 1990’s can overtime develop an image of what they believe the 1920’s to have …show more content…
In 1963, or protagonist is on hand to witness the George Wallace’s refusal of integration at UAB. Forrest, presumably unaware of the magnitude of the situation, does not think twice when one of the young African American women drops a book. He walks right up to who we can assume is Vivian Malone, and tries to give it back to her. Due to his sheltered upbringing and proper 1950’s ways Forrest is even unaware of the racial slurs being used against the students. The integration scene is one that most viewers will inevitably recall as a true historical event, but by placing an uncompromised individual in the situation we are able to understand how unfathomable the whole event really is. It can be argued that movies depiction of President Kennedy calling the National Guard in is more memorable than the few black and white pictures from the real occurrence. Forrest’s presence at UAB that day has a way of symbolizing President Kennedys accepting voice during the situation. Gump could never have understood the words of Governor Wallace on the front steps of UAB.
“The unwelcomed, unwanted, unwarranted and force-induced intrusion upon the campus of the University of Alabama today of the might of the Central Government offers frightful example of the oppression of the rights, privileges and sovereignty of this State by officers of the Federal Government.”

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