I wish I could find online Gerald Early’s essay, “Dancing in the Dark: Race, Sex, The South, and Exploitative Cinema”. It was far and away the best thing I read in Best African American Essays: 2009, but it looks like it’s hidden away in Issue 57 of the Oxford American, subscribers only.
In any case, Early talks about self-mythologizing Southern culture, American gothic, blaxploitation and sexual taboo. Case studies include D.W. Griffith films like The Birth of the Nation, His Trust, and His Trust Fulfilled; Gone with the Wind; I Spit on Your Grave; Free, White, and 21; Murder in Missippi; Black Like Me; and To Kill a Mockingbird. Read it if you can find it.