Civil Rights

Friday A/V Club: Awkward Moments with Gov. George Wallace

From Birmingham 1963 to Charleston 2015

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The Charleston church massacre has inevitably inspired people to compare and contrast Dylann Roof's assault with an earlier act of racial terrorism, the Birmingham church bombing of 1963. Spike Lee's documentary on Birmingham, 4 Little Girls (1997), is one of his better movies, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

Looking online for an excerpt from the film that I could feature here, I found this extraordinary clip of an interview with Alabama Gov. George Wallace:

By the time of that interview, Wallace had done a complete turnaround on civil rights, a shift that optimists can attribute to a sincere change of heart and pessimists can chalk up to the fact that he now had to appeal to black voters as well as white ones. Either way, that may be the most awkward some-of-my-best-friends-are-black moment ever captured on camera.

Lee's full documentary can be ordered or streamed here. For past installments of the Friday A/V Club, go here.