The visual image on the big screen of a dramatic portrayal of a true story about race, poverty and injustice in America for some may appear to be untimely. But for many others, movies that are based on the truth and that have the potential to inspire a redemptive consciousness, are always on time. Truth is never of out season. It is impossible to comprehend or understand fully the importance of African American History Month, not just for black people, but for all people, without a serious reflection on how the past informs this present moment in history.
The movie ‘Blood Done Sign My Name’ will open today in theaters across the United States. It is about race. It is about murderous violence and senseless hatred based on prejudice and bigotry. But this movie is also about young brothers and sisters discovering that they have real power in their own hands to the extent to which that power is focused, organized and structured for the good and uplift of the community. Jeb Stuart did a magnificent job both directing the film and writing the screenplay based on the acclaimed book by Tim Tyson. Please go to the theaters and support this important film.
Blood Done Sign My Name is also about family. It is about the human family and the oneness of humanity. Racism and so-called racial supremacy mindsets and actions are real life dangers and threats to all of humanity. When I hear and see the recent activities of so-called Tea Party Movement, it reminds me of that vivid scene in the movie where amidst children playing and family members pick nicking in an open grassy field, white-sheet hooded Ku Klux Klansmen zealously burn a 30 foot cross in the name of Jesus.
Right wing reactionary partisans come in all colors and tongues. The neoCons act like neoKlans. There is a backlash growing against President Obama and all that he represents. It is good to remember that the outstanding youth voter turnout in the 2008 election led the majority of Americans of all colors and tongues to vote for change through the election of President Obama.
The 1970’s witnessed a ‘law and order’ backlash against the gains that were hard fought for successfully in the 1960’s. Thus, the wanton murder of Henry Dickie Marrow in May of 1970 in my hometown of Oxford, NC, was symptomatic of the backward, divisive climate of racial polarization and judicial repression at that time led by pre-Watergate President Nixon. The crucibles of poverty in 1970 and in 2010 are remarkably similar for blacks and Latinos. Yes we have made progress during the last 40 years, but we should not take for granted that progress. The strong winds of backlash are howling loud and forcefully. Ye