Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Upcoming Event: Liberation Film Series presents "Negroes with Guns" - Sat 11/23/13 @ 2-6PM

(via Tom Stephens)

Title: Liberation Film Series presents "Negroes with Guns"
Date: Sat, November 23, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Where: General Motors Theater - Detroit
Category: Film Screening


The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History's Liberation Film Series presents a free screening of Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power, accompanied by the community conversation The Right to Black Self-Defense against Human Injustice & Oppression led by Reverend John Chalmers Williams, Esq. (Son of Robert F. Williams), Dr. Gloria House (Aneb Kgositsile) (Scholar-Activist and Author), and General Gordon Baker, Jr (Founding Member: League of the Revolutionary Black Workers and Friend of Robert F. Williams). Special appearances by  Mabel Williams (Widow of Robert F. Williams) and Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who will present a City of Detroit proclamations/resolutions highlighting the courageous and uncompromising strategic leadership and international efforts of the Williams family. Also featuring book signings of Negroes With Guns, Hands on the Freedom Plow, and The Crusader Newsletter.

Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power tells the dramatic story of the too often-forgotten civil rights leader who urged African Americans to arm themselves against violent racists. In doing so, Williams not only challenged the Klan-dominated establishment of his hometown of Monroe, North Carolina, he alienated the mainstream Civil Rights Movement, which advocated peaceful resistance.

For Williams and other African Americans who had witnessed countless acts of brutality against their communities, armed self-defense was a practical matter of survival, particularly in the violent, racist heart of the Deep South. As the leader of the Monroe chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Williams led protests against the illegal segregation of Monroe's public swimming pool. He also drew international attention to the harsh realities of life in the Jim Crow South. All the while, Williams and other protestors met the constant threat of violence and death with their guns within reach.

In August 1961, the Freedom Riders, civil rights activists trained by Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead non-violent resistance, came to Monroe to demonstrate the superiority of passive resistance. An angry mob turned on the protestors and, by the end of the day, the Freedom Riders had been bloodied, beaten and jailed, and Rob Williams was on the run from the FBI.

Backed by a jazz score by Terence Blanchard (world renowned trumpeter), Negroes with Guns uses interviews, rare archival footage and searing photographs to chronicle Williams' rise to notoriety, his eight-year exile in Cuba and Mao Zedong's China and his much-publicized return home in 1969. Voices include historians, members of Williams' Black Guard—armed men committed to the protection of Monroe's black community—and Williams' widow, Mabel.

For eight years, Williams and his family lived in exile, first in Cuba and then in China. In Havana, Williams began to broadcast a 50,000-watt radio program called "Radio Free Dixie." Selected recordings are featured in Negroes with Guns. The radio show fused cutting-edge music with news of the black freedom movement and Williams' editorials, which, among other things, urged blacks not to fight in Vietnam.

Rob Williams and his accomplishments, by design, were nearly eradicated from the public consciousness while he was in exile from 1961 to 1969, at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement. According to the filmmakers, Negroes with Guns helps to "restore Rob and Mabel Williams to their rightful place as important human rights figures who defied the white power structure without the protection of large numbers or the attention of television cameras."

Directed by Sandra Dickson and Churchill Roberts. Running time: Approximately 53 minutes.

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