- What is the title of the film you picked?
The title of the film I picked is July ‘64.
- Why did you pick this film over the others offered?
I have found a particular interest in films that reflect the real life stories on matters related to African American history. July ’64 is a film that depicts the events that took place in Rochester, New York, on the 24th of July 1964. During that period, there were quite a large number of African American people living in Rochester (Goodman, 2014). The white considered them as the black community. These black communities were to blame for the riots that took place in that year as well as the following years. The film paints a picture of the happenings of the day as well as the repercussions and implications of the events in the African American community. At a time when racial segregation was rife, and the United States prided itself as a proponent of democracy, this became a topic of interest to me. It is important to understand some of the challenges that people went through to create the nation that everyone can be proud of today.
- What is/are the central message(s) of this documentary/fictional film? Be specific. Use examples from the film to support your choice.
There are several messages that the movie communicates to the public. However, there is one particular message that was of interest to me. It says that when a community feels oppression, it will at some point burst with frustration through any means that will be available for them. To be more specific, such furious people will revolt at the slightest provocation. As much as the film is a fictional documentary of facts that expectedly took place in the year 1964, it is of much relevance. At the time when the world is experiencing terrorism and globalization, it marvels me to predict what next group will explode and tear the world.
In the film, we see people rioting, and yet the reason for the revolt is not clear to these people themselves (Goodman, 2014). Notably, they are rebelling because of other issues that do not relate to the current situations, and as far as there has risen an opportunity to riot, they take the chance. The people are not even sure whether they are rioting because of the man that was arrested due to the unsubstantiated claims that there was a police dog that had bitten a young black girl.
- Consider the effectiveness of the film for this history class. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this film in documenting history?
The film is a good picture of the status quo in the 1960’s on the matters concerning the state of the African American relationship with the rest of the White America. It is effective enough when it comes to taking the class back to history and helping the students understand the source of injustice and atrocity that took place in those years. It also helps to understand the relationship between communities in the United States, especially after decades of slavery and oppression. However, one should not consider the facts in the film as the whole truth about what happened then. Despite a close representation, students should look for information on the same evidence from scholarly sources.
- How do you think the filmmakers want the audience to respond? Is there a social justice message? If so, what is it?
I think the filmmakers want the viewers to be sympathetic to the African American community and view the harshness of white people towards the black community. It is possible to consider this fact as a message of social injustice to the white people. This view concerns the reasoning that the white community reacted to the riots as any other community would react. As a matter of fact, it is impressive that only 5 people died with 4 of them in the helicopter crash. Although the African Community was under oppression by the whites, the black community also had a role to play in it. It is not reasonable to blame only the white community.
- Did the documentary leave you with any unanswered questions? If so, what were they?
The documentary left a couple of unanswered questions. How effective was the 1960s fight against oppression, especially with the reports of more injustice against black communities in the United States today? Also, if it were not for these riots and revolutions, would people like Barack Obama mange to become a president? Would people like Ben Carson stand a chance of becoming a president as they do now?
- How did this film change any misconceptions or stereotypes you had about the subject matter? If so, what were they?
This film shed some light on the particular preconceptions concerning the African American relations. Initially, I believed that the American community was too rough on the black community. However, after watching the movie, I started thinking that maybe the American community acted this way in response to what they were getting from the black community. The lawlessness on the part of the black community when it came to matters could be possible to solve through the legal system.
- What is the most important thing you learned from watching the film?
The most important thing I learned from watching the film was the impact that ignorant reaction to situations could bring about in a community. The black community, as evident from the film, reacted to claims of a black girl bitten by a police dog. The reactions that followed were uncalled for. Both sides, the black and white community, lashed at each other in atrocities that lead to the loss of lives.