From 16 MM Lost & Found: Dubbed a “genuine masterpiece” by the New York Times, The Quiet One documents a 10 year old African American boy during his time at the Wiltwyck School for Boys. Loathed and essentially abandoned by his family, Donald Peters was sent away after falling into a deep depression. During his time spent at Wiltwyck, psychiatrists were slowly able to gain his trust and council him through his trauma.
Although a black actor was selected to play the part of Donald, his race had nothing to do with the movie; instead, the director chose to focus on the boy’s psychological issues and the process of his recovery.
While the issue of race is never commented on in the documentary, Wiltwyck originally opened its doors to African American children in 1936, and then transitioned into an interracial school in 1942. It was heavily financially supported by Eleanor Roosevelt until her death in 1962. Without her help, Wiltwyck was unable to continue and shut down in 1981.