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Roald Dahl’s Widow Says ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ Hero Was Supposed to be Black | The New York Times

Roald Dahl’s Widow Says ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ Hero Was Supposed to be Black | The New York Times The widow and the biographer of the beloved British children’s writer Roald Dahl told the BBC in an interview this week that Charlie Bucket, the young boy whose life is changed by a golden ticket in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” was originally supposed to be black.

Roald Dahl, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket, Racism, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN



His first Charlie that he wrote about was a little black boy,” the widow, Felicity Dahl, said in the interview. It was timed to the author’s birthday, which fans of his work celebrate as Roald Dahl Day. He would have been 101.

Mrs. Dahl made the remark during a conversation with Donald Sturrock, her husband’s biographer, on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program. Mr. Sturrock said Mr. Dahl had understood “the American sensibility.” In response, Mrs. Dahl revealed the original idea for Charlie’s race and said she believed it had been “influenced by America.”

But as readers and moviegoers the world over know, Charlie Bucket is white. Mr. Sturrock said that was because of Mr. Dahl’s agent, whom he did not name.

“It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea when the book was first published to have a black hero,” Mr. Sturrock said. “She said people would ask why.”

Roald Dahl, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket, Racism, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).


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