Real Folk Productions

Michael Rooker, Omar Benson Miller, Nick Searcy, Lela Rochon, Rick Schroder, Nate Parker, Gattlin Griffith, Lee Norris, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Susan Walters

It’s very difficult to make a movie about such a volatile subject, not to get carried away one way or the other.  I can’t fault them for that.  I think they did their best to portray the subject as fairly as possible, but I’m not sure everyone acted the way the people in this film did.  Especially in 1970.  On the other hand, I do have a personal story I have to tell a little later in the review.  It’s my article, so I can do what I want to.  🙂

But first on the film.  It has a large cast.  It’s an intense story and it is based on a true story.  Henry Marrow, a black Vietnam Vet, returns home and was murdered by a group of violent racists.  Later, the killers are acquitted by an all white jury. 

Vernon Tyson (Rick Shroeder) is a minister, who insists on trying to integrate his congregation.    Ben Chavis (Nate Parker) is an African American local high school teacher who organizes a boycott of white businesses and triggers the civil unrest that follows and things would never be the same.   This is a powerful story.  It is based on a book written by the son of Vernon Tyson. This causes some of the controversy because many of the people involved are still living.   The families of the people who were tried have setup web sites to tell their side of the story, and why they think some of the facts are incorrect or twisted. It is based on the eyewitnesses of the events that happened, and from all sources I can find, is relatively accurate about what happened.  But there are other opinions.   A little research on the internet and you can find both sides of the events of that week.  It is hard to write a work based on something that happened to your father while you were old enough to remember and be completely unbiased.

But whatever, it’s sure that you will remember this film long after watching it.   It’s strange remembering the things that were happening when you were just a young man.  I remember the violence of the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I grew up, as I have said in my biography, in western Pennsylvania.  I never really saw racism in our little town.  A portion of the kids who went to school with us were black, and we never paid any attention to it.  We played little league with both white and black kids and it didn’t matter to us.   When we went to school or to birthday parties or to the parks, black and white children played together.  I came from a rather large families and we had lots of cousins and we played together all the time.   One of my cousins, when he was about 10 moved to South Carolina, and in less than a year or two, he completely changed.  One day in the summer when we were all playing together we went to a large community swimming pool.  Were were laughing and playing and having a good time, when suddenly we noticed our cousin sitting on the bench beside the pool.  No matter how much we cajolled and pleaded for him to come back in, he would not.  Finally he said,  “I cannot go in that water, there are N****** in that water.  We were appalled and shocked that he could change so much in such a short time.

No not everyone in the Carolinas in 1970 were racists, but if they are guilty, they are guilty of allowing it to happen.  They are guilty of tolerating 3 rest rooms in every public building….Men, Women, and colored.   They’re guilty of tolerating  white and colored drinking fountains.  There is no excuse for this kind of behavior.  Lucky it’s a different world, but this film is a great look back into this time.  Whether the exact facts are right or not, and whether the words were spoken in the order they are depicted in this movie, the story is true and it was a disgraceful time, and I’m glad we have the chance to go back and remember where we came from.  It was an awful time.

It is a powerful movie!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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