Film: 5742

Religion | 1960 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

A film depicting the state of race relations in Omaha, Nebraska in the 1960s. The town appears to be heavily segregated and there exists a great deal of tension between whites and blacks, as is revealed by the film. Anti racist in sentiment.

Series of shots of different men, black and white. View of the whole group together, deep in conversation. A black teenager expresses his shock that racism can exist between white nationalities, giving an example of an Italian and an Irishman arguing. Pan to the whole group of black youngsters listening intently; close up of one girl who argues that people should be taught to get along. A white church congregation singing a hymn. Close up of a row of female churchgoers singing. The pastor stands before the congregation and speaks of the myth that exists that the white man is superior to the black man. Cut to the pastor seated with two other men as his sermon continues. Inside a crowded church. Close up of the pastor giving his sermon. A woman steps up and says a few words.

Close up of a young black hairdresser explaining to the pastor the oppression he feels in Omaha. The pastor looks shamefaced as he listens to this intelligent synopsis of white American hypocrisy. Extreme close up of the pastor. Close up of a young boy having his hair cut. View of the barber's shop as the two speak of the impossibilities of reconciliation. Shot of the pastor leaving the shot with the words "Don't look back in anger" ringing in his ears. Pan of the newspaper cuttings that line the wall of the shop with various black boxers, close up of a white police cop caricature, with the words 'symbol of our oppression' written below it. Close up of a headline, "A Trail of Blood - a Negro Dies". Two oaf-like white men sit scoffing in a cinema. Cut to a shocking photograph of a black child his face burned and his eyes covered with bandages. Drawing of John F. Kennedy.

Pastor driving his car. View of shop fronts, the town church. In a group meeting, he speaks of the necessity for inter-racial marriages for better social relations. Shots of group members discussing the issue. Committee agreed that they should allow ten black Christians to visit their church, although they are a little unsure of how the congregation will react. A black community leader speaks with the pastor and other group members on the issues raised and the response of the congregation. A meeting of the inter-racial committee and members from the Calvin Memorial, a black community church. The church council discusses the dilemma of how to deal with those who left the church when the black visitors arrived - if they lose then then they will not be able to get the message through at all.

These men reveal their true sentiments by voicing their hesitation over allowing coloured peoples into their neighbourhoods because it "looks bad". The bigotry shown here is astounding. One speaks of Mexican families who have moved into the area and lowered the tone. This will bring the deterioration of the neighbourhood and affect house prices. Black community members discuss these points raised. Debate over the Vietnam War. Final words come from the mayor of Omaha.


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