The Rock and The River

March 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm Leave a comment


1968 was a year of turmoil. Protests against the Viet Nam war and for the enforcement of Civil Rights laws were punctuated by assassinations, violence and riots. Much of the conflict seemed to be generational – children in rebellion against their parents values and beliefs. In this setting, in Chicago, the two sons of civil rights activist and pacifist Roland Childs attempt to establish their own identities separate from their father. Older brother Stick secretly joins the Black Panther Party, whose community activism is a complex mix of service and militarism. Younger brother Sam is torn between what he discovers about his older brother’s activities and his father’s faith in non-violence. As his experiences with racism in Chicago grow more violent and the murder of Martin Luther King sparks riots, Sam wonders if his father’s path will ever result in any change at all. Yet he knows instinctively that his brother’s gun will carry a cost all its own.

This is an interesting and compelling look at the complex relationship between the hope and despair of the inner-cities in America in 1968, especially as represented by The Black Panther Party, from which emerged a new and strength and pride of heritage for African-Americans.   John S.  (WLS)

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March 2009


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