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Hope and Redemption: the Lena Baker Story

The film of choice is Hope and Redemption, a story by Lena Baker. Lena Baker is one of the greatest female figures who have ever lived in the 20th and the 21st centuries. She was the first lady to be killed by electric chair in Georgia. Lena was executed in the year 1945, although later she was pardoned after sixty years.

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Film Analysis Example

The film Hope and Redemption was produced in 2008. The director of the film is Ralph Wilcox and the main actor is Trichina Arnold. The country of production is the United States of America, and the movie lies under the genre of biographical films. This film revolves around various issues that were the key among blacks and the whites during this period. It tries to portray the relationship between blacks and whites. Racial segregation is an evident theme in the film and there are many effects affiliated to it. The film is based on the true story. It narrates a real life of an African-American woman who goes through a lot of struggles so as to rise above the challenges that were surrounding her.

The film brings out many themes, which vary in intensity and magnitude. One of the key evident themes is poverty. In her tender age, Lena Baker used to work in a cotton farm in the southern parts of Georgia. She accompanies her mother in doing this as this was the only thing they could do to sustain their daily needs. Poverty is also evident in the fact that Lena Baker turns out into prostitution so as to at least get something to sustain her life. There is also a theme of change. In the film Lena is arrested before she realizes her dream. She is later released and returns home as a different person to reunite with her mother. According to the film, Lena does not drink anymore and settles down as a family woman with three children. She attends the church frequently, and she is a committed house worker who helps her mother with the household duties.

Furthermore, there is the theme of exploitation. This is evident in the fact that Lena faces the worst of her life when she meets Elliot Arthur. She meets him when she goes to work in the white man’s farm. Arthur is a rich white man who develops a relationship with Lena. He is addicted to some obscene behaviors such as excessive drinking and cruelty. Lena gets herself in this given that this white man takes advantage of her poor condition. Their relationship is more of exploitation than love. Elliot abuses Lena both physically and mentally, consequently affects her total well-being. He kidnaps Lena from her home and holds her hostage for weeks. In the struggle to rescue herself, she accidentally shoots Elliot and this results to her long jail sentence.

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Finally, there is a widespread theme of racial segregation. This is evident in the way the whites treat the blacks. It is quite vivid that the whites feel superior to the blacks, which makes them exploit the blacks in one way or the other. Lena would not have died if it were not for the fact that Elliot wanted to take advantage of her. It is out of the desire to free herself that Lena gets the worst out of it. This makes Lena to be the first and the only woman to be electrocuted.

Citizenship in the USA before 1954

For a long time, the non-blacks were not naturalized to be full citizens of America. This only happened to whites who were the dominant race in the USA. It was believed that they were the indigenous inhabitants of the land and, therefore, had all rights for full citizenship. The Negroes and people from other races were not allowed to be full citizens. Even those who had received freedom from enslavement were considered outcasts and had no right for full citizenship. They were made formal through the legal system as laws were passed that specified who was allowed to be a full citizen and who was not. Although this did not affect the taxation system, the blacks and other races did not enjoy equal rights as the whites. There was a widespread disparity on how the blacks are entitled to certain rights as compared to whites. Most of the blacks remain as slaves even after their freedom; they are not entitled to full rights.

The issue of citizenship had impacted differently on those who were entitled to full citizenship and those who were not. To begin with, those with full citizenship were allowed to own property. This was not the case with those who did not have full citizenship. In addition, the wealth was mainly in the hands of the whites, while the rest remained as their workers. Those who were the non-citizens did not get a fair treatment in the law courts as the law mainly favored the whites. Also, they did not have freedom of assembly and movement. The whites thought that any assembly of the blacks would bring instability as they would demand the equal rights. Participation of the blacks in various organs of the government was also limited as their views and opinions were not highly valued.

This had enormous consequences as there was a significant imbalance on the two sides. This did not only affect social relations but also economic advancement. This was caused by the fact that the two groups were fighting for recognition. While the whites strived to maintain their standards as the senior class, the other ethnic groups fought to acquire the equality. This consequently led to racial segregation where the whites felt superior to the other groups. This also resulted to social stratification where the rich continued to become richer while the poor were excessively becoming poorer.

However, this did not continue like this for long, as with time the American ethnic groups were incorporated as white people. This came to be when the government passed the Alien Land Law. This law prohibited racial segregation and advocated for equal and fair treatment of all races. This law also made the aliens eligible to become full citizens of the USA. It also allowed the aliens to have equal rights with the whites and to be protected by the law. The aliens were allowed to own land and also to own other properties. The aliens were now recognized as full citizens of the US.

The federal housing policy facilitated the aspect of segregation across the board. The good houses were reserved for the white while the other races lived in the suburbs. This clearly demonstrates the social gap between these two groups. Once the non-whites are given the full citizenship, the whites are not happy with it. They do all they could in order to ensure that the property values went down. This is due to the fact that properties, especially land and houses, are not under the control of the whites. The aliens could get the full ownership of the property and this eventually led to the value of property going down.


Racial disparities were still prevalent in many fields, especially in education and other crucial areas. The gap between the whites and the blacks continued to extend both in the social, economic and political sectors. Even after the aliens got to the same economic level as the whites, these disparities were inevitable.

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