The War at Home

Written by Michele Wells

America’s Police Brutality has a history.

the plot

This is a story of how America lost World War II. A story of black soldiers – Americans – who fought for freedoms abroad that they would never experience at home. Based on the true story of Jesse Thornton -a black WWII veteran and Alabama chicken farm manager, who was killed by a white police officer, Officer Doris Rhodes, for refusing to call him “Mr”,


The War at Home captures a moment in Luverne, Alabama, that demonstrates how a war abroad shed light on the hypocrisy of America’s racial hatred at home. The War at Home tells the history of black soldiers, the black women who stayed home, and a country grasping for answers to the question: why don’t the Negroes get the same treatment as the whites?

Past Productions

He refused to say "Yes, sir."

A soldier abroad. A "nigger" at home.

jesse thornton

Jesse Thornton was the kind of man who held his community together. He was described by a friend as a man who was “hard-working and ready to fight if imposed upon.”


This scene is the heart of The War at Home because it shows how the war impacted the lives of black Americans. 

Director's Statement

There’s nothing new about The War at Home. The roots of an unequal, divided America — an America that treats African Americans as second-class citizens — stems from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In the 1940s, unequal treatment for African Americans remained embedded in the fabric of American legal, educational, and social systems. Against the backdrop of a war abroad, African American soldiers began to fight against inequalities overseas that made them aware of the need to resist injustices at home. Serving and fighting to protect their country and American values was an act of ownership. But it was unsettling. They saw that while their country could create opportunities for white and black Americans to fight alongside one another abroad, officers of the law were intent on violently oppressing their rights at home. In this way, I believe World War II sealed America as “home”. The change brought about by the war was that these soldiers came home knowing they weren’t anyone’s property – these were men and women and fighting for home.

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