There’s this column over at S&A that I absolutely love. To encourage people to go out and create some really interesting black films they often post a little known but interesting story. I love these types of stories. When I was young my parents would tell me stories of black Americans or Africans that were never told in school. Our stories amaze me even more as an adult. The amount of untold stories we have is crazy.
So, I really like this column and I love the idea of throwing these ideas out there in the hope that someone will get inspired and pursue a movie out of one of them. I’m going to contribute by posting some of my favorites below with links to the original articles.
Apparently, there is a ton of evidence to suggest that the man who inspired The Lone Ranger was a Deputy U.S. Marshall named Bass Reeves. Get this. Reeves was said to have captured close to 3,000 fugitives (he killed only 14). He was a former slave who lived in the Seminole and Creek Indian territory of what is now Oklahoma. Due to his close relationships with the Indians he had a partner who helped him track down bounties. And, most of his fugitives were shipped to a prison in Detroit. The Lone Ranger originated on a Detroit radio station.
Read more at the link. This Bass Reeves fella sounds like the truth. Whether he’s the inspiration for the Lone Ranger or not, he would make for one hell of a movie.
This one messed me up. I’m a huge fan of The Count of Monte Cristo. Stories inspired by it are placed high on my “need to watch list.” So, when I read that both Count and The Three Musketeers was based, in part, on the life of a half Haitian, half Frenchman I flipped.
Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie was born as a slave in Haiti, but he made his way to Paris, learned to be “a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy,” enlisted in the army and gradually rose through its ranks. By the age of 32, he was the commander-in-chief of the French army at the height of the French Revolution. Pailleterie, who adopted his mothers name (Dumas) when he enlisted, had three children and one of them was named Alexandre Dumas. Dumas, the son, would go on to be a world famous author.
So, how come no one has ever heard of this? Oh, it gets so much more interesting.
In the 1940’s Doris Payne became a diamond thief to help take care of her mother when she was a teenager. Payne, who has since been caught and is serving time in jail, stole jewelry in Paris, Monte Carlo, and Japan. Over a 60-year career, she traveled all over the world and stole over two million dollars worth of jewelry.
There is a documentary about this woman called “The Life and Times of Doris Payne” but I’m sure we can all agree that a feature film or an FX television series would be far more interesting.
This story is so incredible I had to read it twice to truly understand what was going on. Sarah Vector was a former slave who became one of the richest girls in America in 1914. Vector was born amongst the Creek Indians. In 1887, the government awarded Creek Indian minors a few acres of land. She qualified as one of those minors. Of course, the land wasn’t expected to be worth anything, but in 1913 oil was discovered. Little Sarah Vector was only 10 years old. You won’t believe what happen when people found out.
These are a few of my favorites but they’ve also posted stories on black female cartoonist Jackie Ormes, the Haitian Revolution and more. Hopefully, Tambay we’ll keep these stories coming.