Friday, October 19, 2012

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975: Take Two

Göran Olsson's The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011) begins with footage from 1967 when the US population is 210 million (it's now 312 million at the time of this posting) at the height of the US-Vietnam War, with a military draft in place and 525,000 American soldiers deployed in Vietnam.

Swedish archival footage gives us fresh glimpses at people, places and events, including stellar footage of Stokely Carmichael (or Kwame Ture, 1941-1998, pictured above) and his mother -- she has a fascinating Trinidid-New York City hybrid accent, while he retains a subtler Trinidadian lilt. When asked in Paris if he fears being imprisoned upon his return to the USA, he responds, "I was born in jail." He relocates to West Africa in 1969. 

Martin Luther King is clearly against the US-Vietnam War, as Angela Davis notes in narration made for parts of the documentary. His "Beyond Vietnam" speech at Riverside Church, NYC on April 4, 1967 -- exactly one year to the day before his assassination in Memphis -- epitomizes his overall stance: "We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

There's footage of MLK and Harry Belafonte meeting with King Gustaf VI Adolf (1882-1973) of Sweden in Stockholm, reminding us of ongoing Swedish support for human and civil rights as well as the international dimensions of American society.

Black Power kicks into high gear when MLK is killed in 1968, the year of the Tet Offensive and sometimes called Revolutionary Year Zero. (To be continued).

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.       

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

We still haven't made that switch to a person oriented society, despite being persons ourselves. It's amazing, and disgusting.