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Racism in America has manifested itself in a grim variety of ways, and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, it was hardly uncommon for communities to make African-Americans feel unwelcome outside of ghettos in the poorest side of town. However, some cities took a more aggressive stance against citizens of color, and a number went so far as to stage vigilante pogroms in which the entire black population would be forcibly expelled under threat of violence. Documentary filmmaker Marco Williams examines this hidden side of America's racial history in Banished, which focuses on four examples of primarily white communities rising up to force their African-American neighbors to flee, in incidents which took place in Texas, Missouri, Georgia, and Indiana between 1886 and 1923. Banished was screened in competition at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.


Critic Reviews for Banished

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (2)

  • [Director Marco] Williams brings with him descendants of the dispossessed interested in the bodies of their ancestors, the titles to their expropriated lands, and the scruples and excuses of towns that didn't want them.

    Jan 5, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Williams isn't afraid to ask -- without providing any definitive answer -- whether black people are owed something for the legacy they were denied, and whether the grandchildren of the people who denied it should be properly held accountable.

    Sep 28, 2007 | Rating: B

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Marco Williams's latest investigation into race relations suggests, seemingly without intending to, how much the language of pop psychology has vitiated our nation's discourse on the atrocities committed on its soil.

    Sep 27, 2007 | Rating: 2/6
  • Banished offers a startling tour into an unforgotten history that remains invisible to most Americans.

    Sep 27, 2007
  • There are ghosts haunting Banished, about the forced expulsion of black Southerners from their homes in the troubled and violent decades after the Civil War.

    Sep 26, 2007 | Rating: 4/5
  • In Banished, Marco Williams investigates, with even-handed and nuanced precision, the shameful and suppressed history of white communities banishing African-Americans from their homes between the end of the Civil War and the 1920s.

    Sep 26, 2007 | Full Review…

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