Filmthreat.com has a list of the "10 BEST URBAN LEGENDS IN FILM HISTORY"
. It's an interesting list, but I think they've chosen an odd choice for number one: the 'urban legend' about President Woodrow Wilson allegedly remarking that the ultra-racist film Birth of a Nation
was like "history written with lightning"
and "all terribly true."
I've heard these comments attributed to Wilson many times. In fact, I can remember sitting in quite a few classes and listening to the lecturer make this exact claim. The remarks also appear in numerous history books. To be honest, until I read filmthreat's list I wasn't aware that there was any controversy about their truthfulness. Personally, I think Filmthreat may be cutting Wilson too much slack. While they point out that there's no definite evidence that he said these comments, there is anecdotal evidence that he did
say them. When this is combined with Wilson's well-known views about race (he was the president who chose to resegregate the federal government after it was desegregated following the Civil War), it doesn't seem that unlikely that he might have said words to this effect, even if it wasn't those exact words.