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2 items from 2004


Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power

9 July 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Chronicling the life and turbulent times of a lesser-known civil rights figure, "Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power" is a straight-ahead documentary more notable for its chosen subject than for breaking any fresh ground in its PBS filmmaking style.

The Los Angeles Film Festival entry, taking its title from Williams' 1962 manifesto that advocated armed self-defense as the best defense against racially motivated violence, shines some reflective light on the man it upholds as a forefather of the Black Power movement.

Adhering to a philosophy that managed to rattle both the white segment of his Klan-dominated hometown of Monroe, N.C., as well as the black, nonviolence-advocating leadership of the mainstream Civil Rights movement, Williams found himself wanted by the FBI on charges of kidnapping a white couple he was, in fact, shielding from an angry mob.

As a result, Williams fled to Cuba in 1961 with his wife, Mabel, where they were given political asylum and the opportunity to air his Radio Free Dixie broadcasts, which combined R&B and jazz music with politically charged Black Power rhetoric.

But some of his ideologies, as well as the fact that he was not a Communist, didn't sit well with Castro, so Williams and his family headed to Mao's China where they remained until 1969.

At that point, the Nixon administration, keen on opening up diplomatic relations with the country, saw Williams as a valuable resource and the kidnapping charges against him were dropped, paving the way for his return to the United States.

Incorporating the usual blend of interviews (mainly with Williams' widow) and archival news footage, co-directors Sandra Dickson and Churchill Roberts most effectively set the sociopolitical scene with excerpts from those Radio Free Dixie tapes, while Terence Blanchard's simple piano score pays tribute to Williams' place in not-so-distant American history. »

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Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power

25 June 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Chronicling the life and turbulent times of a lesser-known civil rights figure, "Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power" is a straight-ahead documentary more notable for its chosen subject than for breaking any fresh ground in its PBS filmmaking style.

The Los Angeles Film Festival entry, taking its title from Williams' 1962 manifesto that advocated armed self-defense as the best defense against racially motivated violence, shines some reflective light on the man it upholds as a forefather of the Black Power movement.

Adhering to a philosophy that managed to rattle both the white segment of his Klan-dominated hometown of Monroe, N.C., as well as the black, nonviolence-advocating leadership of the mainstream Civil Rights movement, Williams found himself wanted by the FBI on charges of kidnapping a white couple he was, in fact, shielding from an angry mob.

As a result, Williams fled to Cuba in 1961 with his wife, Mabel, where they were given political asylum and the opportunity to air his Radio Free Dixie broadcasts, which combined R&B and jazz music with politically charged Black Power rhetoric.

But some of his ideologies, as well as the fact that he was not a Communist, didn't sit well with Castro, so Williams and his family headed to Mao's China where they remained until 1969.

At that point, the Nixon administration, keen on opening up diplomatic relations with the country, saw Williams as a valuable resource and the kidnapping charges against him were dropped, paving the way for his return to the United States.

Incorporating the usual blend of interviews (mainly with Williams' widow) and archival news footage, co-directors Sandra Dickson and Churchill Roberts most effectively set the sociopolitical scene with excerpts from those Radio Free Dixie tapes, while Terence Blanchard's simple piano score pays tribute to Williams' place in not-so-distant American history. »

Permalink | Report a problem


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2 items from 2004


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