Sunday 4 February 2024

Week Six: Resources on the Responses to Civil Rights


                  Documentaries and Feature Films

 Some students in the program have asked me about the Civil Rights Tour that I travelled with last year. Below is the website. I  noticed that only the new tour "From Slavery to the Civil Rights Movement" is advertised at this point not the original civil rights tour. I think that is the case because that tour is currently taking place. I expect in the near future that the Nation will be advertising that trip.

These two feature films are valuable because the first focuses King at the centre at the effort to achieve the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the more recent drama portrays Bayard Ruskin as the architect of the 1963 March on Washington whose energy and organizational skills made that historical event happen. 

A stirring film about the life of the remarkable John Lewis

                 Tim Wise offers a compelling portrait of                                               white privilege that reveals vivid clips and insightful                            comments, a film that should be seen.                                        

Freedom Summer is a powerful documentary about the Summer of 1964 when Northern University Students travelled to Mississippi  to assist Blacks in voting registration and teach at Freedom Schools, an experience that was both rewarding and terrifying. 

Canadian Paul Salzman's compelling documenary is about what happened to him when he first visited  Mississippi in 1965 and his return forty-six years later when he engaged in a conversation before the camera with the man who assaulted him, a Klansman who was the son of the man convicted of killing Medgar Evers.

This film follows King in the last years of his life as he encounter hatred in the North and a split in the movement as many young Blacks are drawn to the Black Power Movement.


This 2022 account of the Civil Rights movement may be the best overview of that struggle, and Ricks provides a military lens to view that effort and I think it works. There is a particularly good chapter on the Summer of 1964 and the last chapter on Memphis 1968 offers some illuminating and moving passages on how so many of the movement's participants suffered from PTSD.

A memorable new biography about a giant of the Civil Rights           movement that contains fresh new material that reveals both King's strengths and his flaws. Much he writes about is new: how President
  Johnson connived with  J. Edgar Hoover in an effort to destroy         King's reputation, and the relationship between King and Malcolm X. The book also contains some moving passages, especially on the 1963 March to Washington.


A fascinating crime novel that explores the racism between the Irish and the Blacks in Boston during the busing crisis. Highly recommended.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander has become a classic as she persuasively argues that the current system of mass incarceration that disproportionally sends Black men of colour to prison  has much in common with the                                     historical  Jim Crow era.

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