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Information About Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company

Letter of Support

April 10, 2001

We are American writers, scholars, entertainers, and citizens of the United States.

We have read about the attempts to prohibit publication of Alice Randall’s parody, The Wind Done Gone.

We understand that a factor for the Court to consider in deciding whether to allow or prohibit publication is "the public interest." We respectfully submit this document for the purpose of offering the Court a perspective that might not be addressed in the legal briefs which have been filed.

Precisely because of the press coverage of this lawsuit and because of the prominence of Gone With the Wind in American culture, we believe that prohibiting the publication of Alice Randall’s book would not be in the public interest.

As the Chicago Tribune wrote in its coverage of this lawsuit, "Even more, [the case] threatens to open old scars for U.S. blacks. For 65 years, African-Americans have chafed at the stereotypical representations . . . in Mitchell’s perennial best seller. . . . Now the book [The Wind Done Gone], which has been endorsed by such major African-American voices as Ismael Reed and Claude Brown, may never reach the stores."

The discussion of the painful legacy of slavery is ongoing among American citizens across the nation. Because of the extraordinary popularity of Gone With the Wind and its unique mythic status, Mitchell’s novel has become a prime source of knowledge about plantation life for much of mainstream America. Now is the time for the American public to hear another perspective on this legend.

We feel it is urgent for the public to engage in a full discussion of the important issues raised by Ms. Randall’s satiric commentary on the characters and events that have become so well known through the vehicle of Gone With the Wind.


1. Ben H. Bagdikian
Professor Emeritus, School of Journalism
University of California
Author of The Media Monopoly
Berkeley, CA

2. John Berendt
Author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
New York, NY

3. Robert A. Brown
Assistant Professor of Political Science and African American Studies
Emory University
Atlanta, GA

4. Catherine Clinton
Author of Tara Revisited: Women, War and the Plantation Legend
Winner of Alex W. Bealer Prize, Atlanta Historical Society 1998
Riverside, CT

5. Dennis C. Dickerson
Professor of American and African-American History
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

6. Steve Earle
Musician, Songwriter, Author of Doghouse Roses
Nashville, TN

7. John Egerton
Author of Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South
Memphis, TN

8. Shelby Foote
Civil War Historian
Author of The Civil War: a Narrative (Three Volumes) and Shiloh
Memphis, TN

9. Larry J. Griffin
Editor of The South as an American Problem
Director of American and Southern Studies Program, Professor of Sociology
Vanderbilt University

10. Rita Goldberg
Lecturer, Comparative Literature Program
Harvard University
Boston, MA

11. Adam Hochschild
Author of King Leopold’s Ghost
Finalist, National Book Critic’s Circle Award
Winner of Lionel Gelber Prize, J. Anthony Lukas Award, Mark Lynton Prize in History
San Francisco, CA

12. Reginald Hudlin
Film Director, The Great White Hype
Los Angeles, CA

13. A.Yvette Huginnie
Assistant Professor, American Studies Department
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA

14. Linda Hutcheon
Author of A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON

15. Charles R. Johnson, PhD
Author of Middle Passage, Winner of National Book Award, 1990
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist, 1987
MacArthur Genius Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow
S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollack Professorship for Excellence in English
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

16. Suzanne Jones
Editor of Readings in Black and White
University of Richmond

17. Ward Just
Author, National Book Award finalist Echo House
Recipient of Berlin Prize Fellowship
James Fenimore Cooper Prize
Vineyard Haven, MA

18. Nick Kotz
Winner of Pulitzer Prize, National Magazine Award
Washington, DC

19. Michael Kreyling
Author of Inventing Southern Literature
Professor of English, Director of Graduate Studies
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

20. Harper Lee
Author of To Kill a Mockingbird,
Winner of Pulitzer Prize, 1961

21. William S. Longwell
Senior Lecturer in History, African-American Studies
Vanderbilt University

22. Myra McLarey
Author of Water From the Well
Arlington, MA

23. James Alan McPherson
Author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, and Elbow Room,
Pulitzer Prize winner 1978
Professor of Creative Writing, University of Iowa

24. Larry McMurtry
Author of Lonesome Dove, Pulitzer Prize Winner 1986

25. Christian Moraru
Assistant Professor of English
University of North Carolina
Greensboro, NC

26. Lucius T. Outlaw, Jr., PhD
Author of On Race and Philosophy
Professor of African American Studies and Philosophy
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

27. Nell Painter
Winner of the American Historical Association Award, 2001
Author of Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction
Edwards Professor of American History
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

28. Shannon Ravenel
Algonquin Books
Chapel Hill, NC

29. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Historian and Political Commentator
Pulitzer Prize Winner, 1946, 1966
Winner of National Humanities Medal, 1998
New York, NY

30. Andrea Y. Simpson, PhD
Author of The Tie That Binds: Identity and Political Attitudes in the Post-Civil Rights Generation
Assistant Professor of Political Science
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company Court Papers

Houghton Mifflin Company's Press Statements

Questions and Answers about this dispute
Letter of Support
List of Authors
Biography of Alice Randall

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