Additional information for The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, which has a domestic theatrical release set for September 2, 2011. The film is being distributed by Unknown and has not yet been rated. The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement has a total running time of 25 minutes.
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The film features 85-year-old Mr. Armstrong, an African American barber in Birmingham, Alabama, as he experiences the manifestation of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first ... See full summary
This documentary short film is about James Armstrong, the Birmingham, AL barber whose involvement in civil rights and racial activism spanned nearly forty years. The program opens on the day before Election Day in 2008 as 85-year-old Armstrong remembers the "terrible days" of the civil rights movement, and reflects on his happiness at seeing a black presidential candidate. Early the next morning, citizens line up to vote, and Armstrong is happy that people are "waking up" and getting politically involved. Later, he works in his barber shop, discussing his education from other barbers after leaving the Army and the differences between cutting blacks' and whites' hair. The film explains that the Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870, allowed blacks to vote, but that many government officials created various tests and polls to make registration difficult. Amelia Boynton Robinson, age 97, discusses how one needed to own property, have a clean legal record, and be vouched for by two white men before being allowed to register, and even then had to answer difficult, obscure questions about the Constitution first. The townspeople watch the Election Day process on the news, and a reporter interviews Armstrong. Later that night, Barack Obama is declared the President Elect, and everyone celebrates.In the barbershop, the patrons talk and examine a number of articles about Armstrong, who proudly says that he cut Martin Luther King's hair three times back in the '60s, watched by a crowd of admirers. He then discusses the integration of the schools in 1963 and how racist tensions led Governor George Wallace to summon state troopers to the scene, causing Armstrong's wife to be nervous about the safety of their children. Armstrong's son Dwight remembers his parents' instructions to avoid violence and not fight back, which they sometimes found difficult. Pastor Carter Gibson talks about the ongoing struggle for legal rights, saying that "voting was worth dying for." Armstrong ended up in jail multiple times, as did his family members and Robinson. In January, Armstrong plans to head to Washington D.C. for Obama's inauguration, but his ill health prevents him from going, and he is rushed to the hospital with heart trouble. His friends and neighbors return home from the experience, happy but sorry to have missed his presence. Attorney Faya Rose Touré Sanders talks about the importance of celebrating the "foot soldiers" who worked for equality at the height of racial tension in America, and Armstrong discusses carrying an American flag in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965, marches which turned violent when the police attended to stop the protesters. The march is recreated every year on "Bloody Sunday," March 7, and though Armstrong's doctor tells him to rest and he is forced to sell his business, he makes it to the event, carrying the same flag. He states that he is not afraid of dying because he has tried to live a meaningful life, and he passes away in November of 2009. His son and grandson then honor him by carrying his flag in the 2010 memorial march.
This film has not yet been rated.
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
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