The Creative Symbolism Behind “Lovecraft Country” Why America Needs Season 2

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ has had the world glued to their TVs every Sunday night to hear about the next turn in the plot of the script. For ten episodes, we watched as Atticus “Tic” Freeman, beautifully portrayed by Jonathan Majors, explore the ties and road bumps of magic and race during the Jim Crow era. 

What some may have missed while being dazzled by the amazing visual of monsters being brought to life and marvelous plot twists, is the endless symbolism. Misha Green, the showrunner who shaped Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name into a visual masterpiece, gave us a path of symbolic breadcrumbs connected to Black culture and its history that has us begging for season two! While ‘Lovecraft Country’ has plenty of sci-fi and in the dark horror, many of the scenes taking place across the show’s debut season are real life for some of the African American culture of the past. So, what were some of those hidden messages, and what did they actually mean?

The Murder of Emmett Till

In 1955, a 14-year-old boy from the south side of Chicago, Emmett Till, was murdered during a visit to family in Mississippi. It has been reported that Till was attempting to flirt with a white woman. Because of the accusation, Emmett was taken from his family’s home, horribly tortured, and shot to death before his lifeless body was thrown in the Tallachatcie River. The murderers, that would later confess in an interview, were set free by an acquittal given by an all-white jury. After his body was recovered, it was sent back to Chicago to his mother who made the hardest decision of her life. Emmett’s mother, Mamie, made the choice of having a public viewing and open-casket funeral so the world can see what racism is doing to black youth. 

Dee, Tic’s niece, being one of the close friends to Emmett is completely horrified when finding out about his death and how he was murdered. What soon comes is two police officers who end up cursing Dee and she is followed by two of the creepiest little girl demons we’ve ever seen. They had cursed her with something that she could not shake on her own and something that could very well kill her… much like the color of her skin.

Another powerful moment during episode eight, was that of Christina Braithwhite, portrayed by Abbey Lee Kershaw, making an attempt to feel the pain that Emmett Till felt and that the African American community feels every day, by having the same violent incident happen to her. While very direct in its meaning in Lovecraft, it is what the culture wants others to attempt to do; have a bit of understanding. 

The Hunting of The Winthrop House

After Leti, a role taken on by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, gets a beautiful house in a not so welcoming neighborhood on the North side, she soon finds that her new home is hunted by ghosts that lost their lives behind those walls. They all were parts of experiments by the fictional character of Dr. Hiram Epstein until their deaths.

Leti later in the season luckily help the spirits find their peace and be released to their freedom. Her fictional tale, however, is based on real historic events. In 2018, New York City removed the J. Marion Sims statue who was a 19th-century gynecologist. The statue stood in Central Park for many decades before its removal. Sims was well known for experimenting on enslaved women. J. Marion Sims, sometimes referred to as the "father of gynecology," is one of many who would use slaves and unwilling people from the black community as test subjects. Many of these people were used in medical trials and research without giving their consent.

The trends have continued into more modern times as people of color face discrimination in the medical field when seeking help and treatments. 

A Travel Guide for Black Americans

Uncle George travels across the country making note of each location along the way that are safe for those who are Black to use durin