Vot­ing rights films have spe­cial rel­e­vance to­day

Times Chronicle - - OPINION - A Place in His­tory

I can­not for­get these mag­nL­fiFenW wRrdV RI WKe JreDW African-Amer­i­can civil rights’ icon, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “InMuVWLFe Dny­wKere LV D WKreDW WR MuVWLFe ev­ery­wKere.”

With the an­niver­sary of the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act WKDW .LnJ Kelped WR enJLneer, KRnRred Rn AuJ. 6 wKen LW wDV pDVVed DlPRVW 50 yeDrV DJR, Dnd D relDWed AuJ. 10 VyPpRVLuP VFKed­uled DW ArFDdLD UnLverVLWy DbRuW Penn­syl­va­nia’s Voter ID LDw, WKe “WKreDW-WR-MuVWLFe” WKePeV RI WwR very reFenW Dnd exquLVLWe filPV KDve Vpe­cial rel­e­vance.

, wDV reDlly PRved DW TKe African-Amer­i­can Mu­seum Ln PKLlDdelpKLD Rn 6undDy, AuJ. 5, wKen WKe FRPPunLWy ac­tivist Diane Wil­liams of Chel­tenham’s his­toric LaMott VeFWLRn en­lLJKWened D very reVpRnVLve DudLenFe Ln D Iree VKRwLnJ RI Dn DbVRr­bLnJ filP dRFuPenWDry, “6DFred 6RLl,” prR­duFed, edLWed Dnd dLreFWed by MDWWKew MDrenFLN RI PRLnW Gu­Drd PrR­duFWLRnV Dnd 6WepKen MF:Ll­lLDPV, D FRdLreFWRr RI WKe CenWer IRr 6Rcial Jus­tice Film at Vil­lanova UnLverVLWy.

TKe filP exDPLneV WKe VWruJJle RI PRVWly-blDFN lRFDl JrRw­erV RI WKe LDMRWW CRPPunLWy GDr­denV (we­bVLWe KWWp://www.lDPRWWFRPPunLWyJDr­den.FRP/), led by Wil­liams for sev­eral years, WR KRld on to a small plot of KDl­lRwed lDnd WKDW FRuld soon be VRld by LWV Rwner, Te P p l e UnLverVLWy. TKe col­lege re­cently PRved LWV Tyler 6FKRRl RI Art from the lo­ca­tion to its main North-Philly cam­pus.

:Ll­lLDPV — wLWK WKe PKLlDdelpKLD DFWLvLVW, DWWRr­ney, wrLWer Dnd rDdLR WDlN-VKRw KRVW MLFKDel CRDrd –—very elRquenWly Ln WKe filP VpeDNV DbRuW Ker leDdLnJ rRle WR FRn­vLnFe TeP­ple UnLverVLWy RI­fiFLDlV WR releDVe 1.8 DFreV RI lDnd WR WKe JDr­den­erV wKR’ve KDd bDVLFDlly Iree uVe RI WKe lDnd IRr JDr­denLnJ. MDny RI WKe JrRw­erV Dre VenLRr FLWLzenV wLWK VRuWKern rRRWV wKR bene­fiWWed IrRP WKe his­toric Vot­ing Rights Act, Dd­vRFDWed by PreVL­denW Lyn­dRn BDLneV -RKnVRn, wKLFK brRDdly prRWeFWed blDFN VuIIrDJe WKrRuJKRuW WKe 6RuWK Dnd FRunWry.

AV WKe filP — enKDnFed by pRLJnDnW nDr­rDWLRn, prRbLnJ LnWervLewV, VKDrp FLnePDWRJrDpKy Dnd VWLr­rLnJ (bDFNJrRund) pLDnR VeJPenWV LndLFDWeV — WKe JDr­den­erV nurWured WKe lLNeV RI JreenV, WRPDWReV, FRrn Dnd RNrD Ln WKe quDLnW FRPPunLty for nearly a cen­tury, start­ing not long af­ter the Civil :Dr Dnd WKe exR­duV RI WKeLr DnFeVWRrV IrRP 6RuWKern plDnWDWLRnV. TKe JDr­den, KLVWRrLFDlly PDnDJed by TeP­ple, VLWV Rn lDnd neDr wKere WKe firVW Dnd lDrJeVW IDFLlLWy WR WrDLn 1RrWKern-bDVed AIrLFDn-APerLFDn VRldLerV durLnJ WKe CLvLl :Dr RnFe VWRRd — Camp Wil­liam Penn, also Dn epLFenWer RI WKe Un­derJrRund 5DLl­rRDd.

AV :Ll­lLDPV Dnd CRDrd pRLnWed RuW Ln WKe filP, WKe IRrW, IRunded Ln PLd-1863 DV WKe wDr rDJed, DWWrDFWed VuFK JreDW DbRlLWLRnLVWV Dnd Un­derJrRund 5DLl­rRDd FRn­duF- WRrV DV Fred­erLFN DRuJlDVV, HDr­rLeW TubPDn, :Ll­lLDP 6WLll Dnd LuFreWLD MRWW, IRr wKRP LD MRWW LV nDPed. And WKey belLeve WKDW MuVWLFe FDn beVW be Verved by TeP­ple PDNLnJ prRvLVLRnV WR Dl­lRw WKe JDr­denLnJ WR FRnWLnue Ln WKe 1800 blRFN RI GrDKDP LDne wKere WKRVe blDFN VRldLerV neDrby WrDLned WR VDve WKe APerLFDn re­pub­lLF.

TeP­ple, PeDn­wKLle, DFFRrdLnJ WR Vev­erDl VRurFeV Dnd newV repRrWV, KDV reVpRnded WR D Iew RI WKe Ln­quLrLeV, buW Dn DFFRrd KDV nRW been reDFKed. CRDrd, Ln IDFW, deVFrLbed WKe lLPLWed reVpRnVeV DV “FRld” Dnd be­lieves that more con­vinc­ing tac­tics are nec­es­sary.

Wil­liams, a for­mer mortJDJe prRIeVVLRnDl Dnd JrD­duDWe RI TeP­ple UnLverVLWy, KDV led dePRnVWrDWLRnV Rn Rr neDr TeP­ple’V FDPpuV, DWWended FRunWleVV PeeWLnJV, FRRrdLnDWed leWWer-wrLWLnJ FDPpDLJnV Dnd VDyV VKe LV FRP­pleWely dedLFDWed, DV DFNnRwledJed by Vev­erDl RI WKe FRPPunLWy JDr­den­erV Ln WKe filP, LnFludLnJ 5RberW MDVVey Dnd 9er­lyn Palmer, a long­time LaMott reVL­denW wKR’V PRre WKDn 90 yeDrV Rld. BRWK IeDr plDnV IRr FRPPerFLDl de­velRpPenW RI WKe lDnd Dnd nRW beLnJ Dble WR pDVV WKeLr JDr­denLnJ KerLWDJeV Rn. OWKerV pRLnW WR WKe need IRr Jreen VpDFe Dnd VDy WKe JDr­denLnJ LV WKerDpeuWLF, DV well DV KLVWRrLFDlly VLJnL­fiFDnW.

,ndeed, :Ll­lLDPV Dnd CRDrd, wKR LV WKe leDder RI the Aveng­ing the An­ces­tors CRDlLWLRn (ATAC) WKDW VuFFeVVIully led WKe fiJKW WR eVWDblLVK D PRnuPenW WR FRPmem­o­rate the lives of nine VlDveV WKDW PreVL­denW GeRrJe :DVKLnJWRn NepW DW WKe VRFDlled Ex­eFuWLve HRuVe durLnJ WKe lDWe 1700V neDr wKere WKe LLberWy Bell pDvLlLRn LV nRw lRFDWed, DVVerW WKDW WKe VLJnL­fiFDnFe RI CDPp :Ll­lLDP Penn Dnd WKe JDr­den­erV’ PLVVLRn Dre “LnexWrLFDbly WLed up,” DV WKe JreDW .LnJ wRuld puW LW. ,VVueV RI LnMuVWLFe VKRuld nRW be VepDrDWed Rr LVRlDWed, D vLew WKDW , cer­tainly sup­port, es­pe­cially reJDrdLnJ WKe preVervDWLRn RI WKe KLVWRrLF JDr­denV.

In fact, I also re­cently vLewed WKe LnFredLble filP, “BeDVWV RI WKe 6RuWKern :Lld,” DW WKe HLwDy TKeDWre Ln -enNLnWRwn, IRFuVLnJ on the un­usual re­la­tion­ship beWween D blDFN JLrl Dnd Ker very ruJJed IDWKer wKR relLVKeV BDyRu lDnd, LWV DnLPDlV, wDWer­wDyV Dnd relDWed cul­ture. It’s truly a story of re­dePpWLve lRve Dnd WKe unLverVDl pRwer RI WKe KuPDn VpLrLW, VR PLndIul RI WKe LDMRWW JDr­den­erV’ PLVVLRn.

TKDW filP DlVR rePLndV Pe RI WKe dDyV wKen dLverVe peR­ple MRLned KDndV Dnd FRn­vLnFed pRlLWLFDl leDderV WR pDVV the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act. In IDFW, WKe AuJ. 10 VyPpRVLuP DW ArFDdLD UnLverVLWy IrRP 6:30 p.P. WR 9 p.P. wLll IRFuV Rn D new lDw re­quLrLnJ vRWerV WR VKRw FerWDLn LdenWL­fiFDWLRn WKDW FRuld KDPper vRWLnJ. 6R, LW’V FleDr WKere’V VWLll D need WR FRPbDW LnMuVWLFe, DV .LnJ rePLnded uV, wKer­ever LW RFcurs.

Don ‘Og­be­wii’ Scott, a Mel­rose Park res­i­dent, can be reached at dscott9703@ aol.com.

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