Sunday, August 17, 2014

Documentary Review: Voices of Civil Rights

This is an important presentation from the History Channel.  It is a series of interviews with people we were not particularly famous, but lived through the Civil Rights period, some of whom were actually part of the movement. 
It starts with a section entitled "There Were Two Americas.  It has interviews on both sides of people who lived through segregation.  It was not pretty, because it always meant on group got less.
The Next section "We Took it to Court" tells the story of a family, who wanted to use the library.  The black library did not have a selection of children's books, so they went to the big public library.  The librarian refused to check out books to them.  So the father sued.  The courts ruled in his favor saying that if he paid taxes, then the library should be open to all citizens.  The judge gave them two choices, shut the library, or open it to all.
"School Integration" told the story of this slow but needed change.  Black schools were always farther away, and always had the hand-me-down books, equipment and supplies.  Governor George Wallace (a Democrat by the way) is heard saying integration would never happen.  The interviews of the children who were the first to attend the integrated schools was one of fear, guard you back, and relief when they finally graduated so they didn't have to go back.  It has taken time, but our country is better with integrated schools. 
The struggle of some to assert their basic rights was presented in "Register to Vote."  That people would put up obstacle after obstacle to thwart this right is appalling.  In one case, a group of teachers tried to register, and were delivered a test they would not pass, by a white man who had not made it pass the eighth grade.  In another instance the Klu Klux Klan burnedd out a family where the father was  trying to vote.  The father would succumb to his b urns, but the family lived through the ordeal.  The member of the Klan that testified for the prosecution indicated that he thought he was doing the right thing at the time, protecting the vote for themselves and keeping others from voting.  He had repented, and testified against others of the Klan, after being sentenced to five years.  He was later pardoned.
We start to see some of the actual protests, mostly peaceful in "Marches and Protests."  This included showing water hoses blowing over youth, and dogs viciously biting protestors.  These actions only fueled the fire rather than turning it out.  These people had to stand up for their freedom.

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