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At the River I Stand (1993)

8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 35 users  
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This moving documentary recounts the two months leading to Martin Luther King Jr.'s death in 1968, coinciding with the 65-day strike of 1300 Memphis sanitation workers.

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Title: At the River I Stand (1993)

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This moving documentary recounts the two months leading to Martin Luther King Jr.'s death in 1968, coinciding with the 65-day strike of 1300 Memphis sanitation workers.

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Great Storytelling and Gives Voice to a Forgotten Group
15 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Most Americans and even many historians forget the reason why Dr. King came to Memphis; this documentary tells the story of the sanitation workers' strike in 1968.

Ignored by the labor unions, the white power structure, and even their fellow citizens, these workers walked off the job in early 1968 over poor working conditions and poor wages.

The support of the women, children, and others in the African American community of Memphis is demonstrated in this film; without this support, the workers' cause would not have gone on for as long as it did.

The filmmakers, like most good storytellers, chose an antagonist (Mayor Henry Loeb) and used the workers, not Dr. King, as their protagonists.

The film is narrated (ably by Paul Winfield) in the present tense, although it was made in 1993; the 'modern' interviews, filmed that same year, give great perspective and commentary to the narration's reportage. The filmmakers used footage that had been collected at that time to show the events of 1968, and the interviews 25 years later mesh seamlessly.

The true 'star' of this documentary is the sanitation workers who did the job no one else wanted to do but had the courage to stand up and say to the world, "I AM a man!"


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