black women

Gone With The Wind Prequel Will Focus On Mammy Character

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hattie-mcdaniels-oscarBy Andrew Scot Bolsinger

It took more than half a century, but Mammy is finally getting her due on the central stage.

“Gone with the Wind” remains one of the most successful stories in American arts having won a Pulitzer Prize and Academy Awards. But that didn’t stop critics for attacking the book’s author, Margaret Mitchell for her stereotypical portrayals of blacks in the book, in particular the maid known only as Mammy.

Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy in the film, became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for best supporting actress.

Now the historic, infamous character will become the central character in a prequel novel “Ruth’s Journey,” due out in October, according to the New York Times.

“’Ruth’s Journey,’ is the fictional telling of the life of one of the novel’s central characters, a house servant called Mammy who otherwise remains nameless. The story begins in 1804, when Ruth is brought from her birthplace, the French colony of Saint-Domingue that is now known as Haiti, to Savannah, Ga. The Mitchell estate has authorized the prequel, which was written by Donald McCaig,” the Times reported.

McCaig wrote one of two other authorized sequels to “Gone with the Wind” in 2007 called “Rhett Butler’s People.” The first authorized sequel, “Scarlett” was released in 1991. McCaig is best known for “Jacob’s Ladder,” his award-winning Civil War novel published in 1998.

“It was Donald’s idea, instead of doing another sequel, to go backwards,” Peter Borland, the editorial director of Atria, said. “He felt that Mammy was such a fascinating and crucial character to the book. He wanted to flesh out a story of her own.”

Mammy cared for the fiery Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara.

“What’s really remarkable about what Donald has done is that it’s a book that respects and honors its source material, but it also provides a necessary correction to what is one of the more troubling aspects of the book, which is how the black characters are portrayed,” Borland said.

An unauthorized parody of the classic novel, “The Wind Done Gone,” published in 2001 over the objections of the Mitchell estate, was told from the perspective of a slave whose mother was Mammy, the Times reported.

Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at