The Help, the blockbuster movie about the relationship between a young white woman and her black maids in 1963 Mississippi, has stirred up a bit of controversy, with some calling it “clichéd” and “condescending.” But writer Casey Hayden, who was herself a pioneer in the civil rights movement in the South, disagrees. “Black women like these… were the backbone of the Movement in the South,” she says, and actress Viola Davis’ “game-changing work has made me proud to have been a part” of that Movement.

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