Monday, March 31, 2014

Lost Boundaries

I'm about two-thirds of the way through writing my next novel, Revelation, which deals with the painful topic of  passing.  While doing research, I stumbled upon the movie Lost Boundaries.  This motion  picture is based on the book by William Lindsay White that tells the true story of Dr. Albert Chandler Johnston, a graduate of Rush Medical College. Johnston's family passed for white while living in New Hampshire. In the movie, Mel Ferrer plays Johnston's character as Scott Carter. A brief synopsis from FilmGordon follows below:
[After graduating] from medical school, Scott Carter, a fair-skinned African American, marries Marsha Mitchell and moves to Georgia. When he arrives at the black clinic in Georgia, he discovers that the job must inconveniently go to a Southerner. Discussions between two nurses at this clinic suggest that Scott’s light skin may have some bearing on the decision not to hire him.  
Defeated but not conquered, Scott returns to Massachusetts to live with his in-laws until he can get employment. He tries unsuccessfully to obtain employment as an African American. Because Marsha is pregnant, Scott decides to take a job at Portsmouth Hospital, but he reluctantly does so as a white man. While there, he manages to save the life of Dr. Bracket, who encourages him to take a postion in Keenham, New Hampshire.  
Scott decides to continue “passing” for white. In Keenham, Dr. Scott Carter proves to be quite a success for the town. For twenty years, Dr. and Mrs. Carter live peacefully in Keenham with son, Howard and daughter, Shelley. All
goes well until Scott and Howard decide to enter the military during World War II. When Scott applies for officer status with the Navy, an investigation reveals his black heritage, and he is barred from receiving a commission.
I'll be ordering a copy of the film and the book to help with my continuing research. Click here for more on Dr. Johnston.

This is a fascinating story I wasn't familiar with. Were you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!


Intangible Hearts said...

Wow, that's a tear-jerker for sure.

Maria McKenzie said...

Yup--so sad:(.

Norma said...

I've heard of the movie but I've never seen it. I learn something new every time I visit your blog, Maria. Thanks!

William Kendall said...

I was unfamiliar with the real story and the movie, Maria.

Maria McKenzie said...

@Norma: My mom had actually seen it. As much as I love old movies, I was surprised I'd never heard of it.

@William: This was a pretty daring topic for back then.