Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How is history shaped in our consciousness? Why are so many people who contribute to society forgotten so quickly? I couldn't help but mull over these questions while watching the documentary Negroes with Guns at the San Francisco Main Library.

Negroes with Guns is about Robert Williams who organized his community to defend itself against the KKK in Monroe, North Carolina and how his struggle for freedom took him around the world from Cuba to China while in exile on escaping false kidnapping charges. Williams was not an advocate of non violence but of self defense against racist violent behavior. This made him controversal and dangerous.

As an activist,Williams worked as a community leader, started the newspaper The Crusader after being suspended by the NAACP for speaking out for self defense. He and his wife Mabel also created and produced Radio Free Dixie while in Cuba, a black power radio program. I'm amazed how I knew nothing about this man growing up or his communities struggles in North Carolina. The first time I heared about him was either 2004 or 2005 when KPOO , my favorite radio station, was playing an excerpt from the Freedom Archives audio documentary on his life. I recommend the audio documentary it's very educational and Mabel Williams tells their life through interviews.

The film was a community screening event, part of ITVS community outreach program which screens independent filmmakers films. The program was successful with a good turn-out. My only complaint is the panel at the end of the program did not include the filmmakers, I felt they were sorely missed.

Negroes with Guns, will be shown February 7th 2006 in the San Francisco Bay Area at 11:00 PM. Check on the Independent Lens website to see when the film is showing in your city.


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