against the University of Wisconsin’s Woke race slander.
Are you ready, University of Wisconsin culture cancelers, to be national laughing stocks? When the Hollywood movie community says you social justice warriors have gone too far with your McCarthyite search for racists under every bed, you’ve gone too far.
Four years ago, UW-Madison stripped the name of two-time Academy Award winner Fredric March from its student theater, followed two years later by UW-Oshkosh. Why? On the flimsiest evidence that the Racine native innocently attached the name Ku Klux Klan to a student club before realizing the mistake. This, despite Mr. March’s lifetime of civil rights advocacy when it really counted, in the years when segregation and discrimination were real and present, not the subject of critical race theory.
Turner Classic Movies primetime host Ben Mankiewicz will correct the UW’s historical injustice during a tribute to the actor on Friday, Sept. 30, marking the 125th anniversary of March’s birth. (Which is actually tomorrow, 08-31-22.) The Hollywood Reporter has the story:
“When I heard this news, my gut reaction was, ‘Wow, you’re kidding me. No way. How could Fredric March have been in the Klan?’” Mankiewicz says. “I think we all forget how hard it was to access information in the 1920s,” he points out. “These were the days when news was communicated via telegraph. It’s possible that a bunch of 18-year-old kids in Wisconsin had no idea what that name meant in another part of the country.
But the evidence is clear that, once they found out, they changed the name [of their group] because they didn’t want anything to do with it.” …
March took part in NAACP activities for more than three decades, delivering the keynote address at that organization’s 10th anniversary celebration of Brown v. Board of Education in 1964, while as a teenager, he gave speeches condemning white supremacy.
Access Hollywood Reporter to see Mankiewicz correcting the record in this TCM video clip.
Fredric March’s supporters have again addressed the injustice, this time in a letter dated 08-23-22. Sent to 47 individuals and departments at UW-Madison and UW-Oshkosh, it is signed by 24 personages, including former mayor Dave Cieslewicz, the family of Dana Andrews (co-star with March in The Best Years of Our Lives), and my teenage heart throb Shelley Fabares. They added their names to the 30 who signed a letter of protest in 2021. This month’s letter notes that the UW ignored “March’s role as one of Hollywood’s greatest, loudest and busiest racial-justice activists across seven different decades until his death in 1975.” The letter adds, with considerable asperity:
No one affiliated with either UW-Madison or UW-Oshkosh has ever once acknowledged this past year a single one of the 30 original signatories or even the very existence of their letter and its highly specific contents. Both schools have chosen instead to simply sidestep decades and downpours of incontrovertible facts and easily accessible archival sources, repeatedly doubling-down on a “case-closed” commitment to never mentioning the subject of March again and abandoning any pretense of fair play and academic integrity.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: The Hollywood Reporter says one of March’s grandsons has said that, before the contretemps, the actor’s surviving family had planned to donate his two best actor Oscar statuettes, won for 1931’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and 1946’s The Best Years of Our Lives, to the university, but no longer plan to do so. “They certainly showed us that they don’t deserve them.”