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« Local candidates and the web | Main | Stand-down stood up »

Apr 20, 2007

Comments

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John D. Young

Good review Ed! I agree. I think the real strength of the movie was the way it humanized the survivors and also former Klan/Nazi members. Roland Wayne Wood's comments and the comments from Gorrell Pierce did help show how some healing and reconciliation has already taken place in the process.

sean coon

i'll try not to go into great detail (i'm working on a post from last night, myself), but i felt the film addressed the ridiculous notion that 11/3 was strictly a narrative that unfolded between two "extremist groups."

along those lines, johnson showed great remorse for the "death to the klan" slogan (he felt it was synonymous with "death to racism" at the time) and realized that it was a spark to tinder. klan members (aside from virgil griffin) showed remorse in their action as well, deeply apologizing for the events of that day.

but both groups, CWP and KKK, either insinuated or outright pointed a finger at the GPD for their role in allowing the two groups to go at each other.

greensboro needs to address these issues, because 30 years later, it's not going away.

Ed Cone

Good point, Sean -- while the film may overstate the case for complicity by the GPD (eg, by allowing a CWP survivor's characterization of the civil suit settlement as an admission of guilt to go unchallenged or even remarked upon) it does make clear that a third group -- the cops -- has to be part of any realistic discussion of that day.

Timothy Tyson

I showed the film to my class today. I appreciate Ed Cone's comments. It's a good film, well made and ably told. I am glad that Zucker let many of the characters more or less present their own stories. Though I am politically sympathetic, and actually hovered around the edges of the CWP back in 1979, and was invited to attend the tragic rally on November 3, I nonetheless thought the film was nostalgic and sentimental with respect to the CWP, with the final error being the very sweet CWP reunion at the beach that closes the film. In a human sense, it's charming. But it seemed like a big thumb in the scale. The mainstream and somewhat conservative Greensboro figures like the mayor et. cal. were not really treated as human beings in the film. I love some of the former CWP folks, but I think that people to my right (most Americans) would view this film with suspicion, some of it born of errors by the filmmaker. And in other ways, and here I disagree with Ed, the film is too "balanced," in that it does not really question the police narrative hard enough. The role of the authorities in the killings appears to be largely a matter of neglect, when there was a police informer and an ATF agent at the scene of the massacre. What were they doing there? If memory serves, the KKK/Nazi assailants had a police department map in their vehicle. Where did they get it? My sense is that rather than overstate the government complicity, Zucker let the CWP people assert it but did not independent examine the evidence for the film audience. There are many unanswered questions. Nevertheless, it is a fine piece of work and I will show it again.

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