Analysis | Casting Black actors in period pieces isn’t diversity. It’s history.


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Three decades later, the director rights that wrong for anyone else watching. In its very first frames, “The Harder They Fall” announces itself on-screen without question with the title card “These. People. Existed.” The classic revenge plot of the film is fictional but nearly every character is based on a historic Black figure who, yes, actually existed in the Wild West. There’s Trudy, Nat Love, Rufus Buck, Bass Reeves and more — Black frontiersmen and women who probably wouldn’t recognize the whitewashed West depicted in the genre’s classics.

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