Danny Glover heads ensemble cast of the TNT Original film:
Danny Glover stars in
and executive-produces FREEDOM
SONG, a powerful new Turner Network Television (TNT)
original film written and
directed by Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams), which will premiere on Turner Network Television(TNT) on Sunday, February
27, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Vondie Curtis Hall (Chicago Hope), Vicellous Reon Shannon (The Hurricane), Loretta Devine (Waiting
to Exhale) and Glynn Turman (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) also star in the 2-1/2 hour film, which tells the compelling
story of the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on a small Mississippi town.
Robinson and Stanley Weiser
wrote the script. Sean
Daniel (The Mummy), Robinson, Glover and Carolyn McDonald
(TNT's Buffalo Soldiers) serve
as executive producers;
Amanda DiGiulio Richmond is the producer. FREEDOM SONG is an Alphaville/Carrie production.
FREEDOM SONG is set in the small town of Quinlan,
Mississippi, in 1961. The Civil Rights Movement is
in full force, making its way through the cities, towns and rural communities of the deep South. The story is told
through the eyes of Shannon's character, an African-American teenager inspired by the arrival of an organizer from
the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The young man joins the crusade to desegregate Quinlan, even
involvement threatens to destroy his relationship
with his father (Glover).
trains Owen and a group of his school friends
to lead peaceful protests against segregation. The protests include
sit-ins at public buildings, such as libraries, bus
stations and businesses. They are also taught to help
African- Americans register to vote -- an act that typically is met with brutal resistance by the forces of segregation.
In chronicling the effect of the movement on the
their families, and their community, FREEDOM
places heroism squarely on the shoulders of the local
people -- the unsung volunteers who risked their
lives to affect change at the grassroots level.
Phil Robinson: "We chose to focus on a small town
thought if we tried to tell the larger story of the
Civil Rights Movement, we could only scratch
the surface of such a broad canvas. Instead, we decided to pick the smallest possible corner and try to get deeper into
the people's lives. This one brief period in Quinlan had successes, failures, beatings, jailings and a murder. It was an
extraordinary microcosm of the Civil Rights
Robinson crafted the script from hundreds
first-hand accounts by former members of SNCC. Civil rights veterans such as Bob Moses, former SNCC chairman
Chuck McDew, Dave Dennis, Bob Zellner and historian Dr. Vincent Harding served as consultants on FREEDOM SONG. The teenaged
McDew and Dennis played extras in one scene, in
were given the unique opportunity
to walk a day in
their fathers' shoes.
Phil Robinson: "When you talk to people who were on
the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement, it's
stunning how often they point to "the elders" -- the
men and women who never marched, or sat-in, or rode Freedom busses --
as the great sources of strength and inspiration
and wisdom that fueled the movement. Together with the energy of the young students, many of whose names have never been
recorded by history, they were true American heroes, and we felt their story had never adequately been told on film.
Their courage and accomplishment has inspired freedom movements all over the world -- from South African to Tienanmen
FREEDOM SONG's innovative score is by noted gospel
group Sweet Honey in the Rock (founded
by SNCC veteran Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon) and Academy Awardr-winning composer James Horner (Titanic). This marks Horner
and Robinson's third collaboration, following Field of Dreams and Sneakers.
Seminal pop singer/songwriter Carole
King wrote and
performs the end title song "Song Of Freedom" with Sweet
Honey In The Rock. Phil
Alden Robinson and Sean Daniel are Excutive album
producers. The soundtrack was released by Sony
on February 15.
Sunday, February 27, 2000 at 7 PM (ET/PT)
Sunday, February 27 at 9:30 PM (ET/PT)
Sunday, February 27 at 12 Midnight (ET/PT)
Thursday, March 2 at 8:00 PM (ET/PT)
Saturday, March 4 at 10:30 PM (ET/PT)
Sunday, March 5 at 1:00 PM
Wednesday, March 8 at 10:00 PM (ET/PT)
Saturday, March 11 at 1:00 PM (ET/PT)
Along the Color Line
White Supremacy in Dixie
By Dr. Manning Marable
How far has America actually progressed toward more
constructive race relations?
Judging by some recent
During this year's legal holiday marking the
birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I was
speak at a small, predominantly white Southern
For decades, this school had been racially
other all-white public educational
college's first black faculty member had been hired
the early 1980s.
Nevertheless, the initial
received was friendly and positive, from
faculty and representatives of the student
association, who had sponsored my visit. Nothing up
point had prepared me for what I would soon
that night was before an audience of
perhaps 500 people, consisting mostly of students
number of African Americans from the
community. I spoke about the enduring legacy of
necessity to achieve social justice, and the urgent
constructive dialogue across America's
concluded, most of the audience responded favorably
message, but many
sat in silence.
A white male student jumped out of his seat even
before the audience had stopped clapping,
hand to ask the first question. When I acknowledged
the white student launched
into an attack against
affirmative action, which was characterized as
He insisted that both he and many
friends had lost scholarships and jobs to
minorities. I replied that statistically less than
percent of all university scholarships were
that is, designated for blacks and Hispanics.
action was necessary because job discrimination
rampant, and blacks frequently were unfairly charged
for goods and services than
whites. I cited one
illustrating that blacks who negotiated and
at white car dealerships were charged
significantly more than whites who bought the
The white student was unimpressed and unapologetic.
His precise words were unclear, but his essential
was, "then the blacks ought to shop somewhere else!"
Suddenly, a significant
number of white students
applause, and a few even cheered. Surprised and
quickly responded that this discrimination was
morally outrageous, and that blacks shouldn't have
in another country in order to be treated fairly in
misunderstand my point here. As a middle-aged
black man, I spent many summers in Dixie during the
I experienced Jim Crow segregation firsthand, and
racism is hardly a new phenomenon to me.
But the white students at this formerly segregated
college had no personal knowledge of what Jim Crow
about. They never saw black people being denied the
to vote, or signs posted on public restrooms reading
and "colored." Yet they felt no hesitation, no
their prerogatives as whites, over and
claims that black people made for equality. In
was "white supremacy": blind to the historical
social consequences of racial
oppression, jealous of
benefits achieved by blacks from civil rights
by the suggestion that racial minorities
compensated for their exploitation. The twisted
white supremacy is that reformers who champion
equality and social justice are the "real
I subsequently learned, a number of white students
and others the next
my talk, demanding to know why this black "racist"
invited to speak at their campus!
What particularly struck me by this incident was the
deep anger displayed
by some whites in the audience.
can disagree with someone else's political
behave in a civil manner. Something I had said, or
what I represented, had generated white rage
This same kind of white bigotry has been at the
heart of the
recent public controversy over the
the Confederate battle flag over the South Carolina
When the NAACP called for the flag's
State Senator Arthur Ravenel referred to the
"the National Association of Retarded People." When
racist remark generated widespread
apologized to "retarded people" for mistakenly
with the NAACP.
In January this year, 50,000 people gathered at the
state capital in Columbia, South Carolina, to call
flag's removal. But you'd never guess this from the
hypocritical and opportunistic behavior of
Party's presidential candidates. Arizona Senator
McCain first described the
Confederate battle flag
symbol of racism and slavery," but soon reversed
claiming it was also "a symbol of heritage."
strategist in the state, Richard M. Quinn,
of the "neo-Confederacy movement."
Texas Governor George W. Bush's
response to the
controversy revealed his political cowardice and
bankruptcy. Bush refused to demand
He held a political rally at Bob Jones University, a
that forbids interracial dating on
is openly hostile to Roman Catholics. Back in
has done nothing to prohibit the widespread displays
Confederate flags in state buildings and even
Why have McCain and Bush refused to condemn a flag
that journalist Brent Staples
has described as "a
choice among neo-Nazis, skinheads and other bigots?"
the same reason that the white students became
I talked frankly about the history of white
racial discrimination. Many white Americans refuse
honestly examine their history, because
if they did,
would have to confront the moral equivalent of the
ran Germany's death
camps. They would have to
the vast murders and rapes by their foreparents, and
own complicity in profiting from today's system of
injustice. It is far easier to "boo" a black
lecturing about racial equality, or to denounce the
taking away their rebel flag, we may
these whites to finally come to terms with their own
history, and themselves.
America as a nation has been essentially "silent"
about its racist
history. As legal scholar Patricia
Williams eloquently stated in the Nation recently,
be better to feel ourselves unsettled by the full
these historical horrors before we commend
having buried the past. As we peer into the
of the ghosts that haunt
America still, perhaps the
peace lies not only in dreaming a better future for
but in awakening white Americans to their
history . . . ."
Dr. Manning Marable
is Professor of History and
Science, and the Director of the Institute for
African-American Studies, Columbia University.
Color Line" is distributed free of charge
publications throughout the U.S. and
Marable's column is also
available on the Internet
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