Banished examines the legacy of racial cleansing incidents that occurred in communities scattered throughout the United States in the early twentieth century, when violent mobs forced thousands of African-American families to abandon their homes. Three communities are profiled, each approaching the challenge of reconciliation differently. In Forsyth County, Georgia, an African-American family seeks compensation for their lost land, legally transferred to white ownership by “adverse possession; a reconciliation committee stalemates. Descendants of a family banished from Pierce City, Missouri, retrieve their great-grandfather’s remains and ask the city to cover the cost. Harrison, Arkansas, is divided between those who would make amends for their town’s racist past and those who are drawn to its lack of black people. The film raises broader questions about how past wrongs can or cannot be redressed, by whom, and through what acts.


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