Bending the Arc toward Justice explores the struggle against racism in Alabama through previously untold stories of both African Americans and a small group of little-known white allies who fought for racial justice during the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama in the 1960s. The film is a project of the Film Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, producer/director Pam Powell and producer/videographer David Brower.
The narrative trajectory of the film includes five parts:
(1) reflections on growing up during segregation in Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, featuring the memories of both black and white interviewees, most of whom recall being “colorblind” during their early years and gradually becoming aware of racial inequality;
(2) the rising tide of resistance to racial injustice (the Movement) during the 1960s, again featuring comments from interviewees of both races, with a special focus on voting rights;
(3) allies of the Movement in Alabama, including Birmingham Unitarians and members of the Jewish community, exploring the ethical reasoning, empathy, and moral commitment of this small group of whites who joined African Americans in the fight for racial justice;
(4) the many forms of racism, both subtle and overt, that remain today (including obstacles to voting rights and the persistence of white privilege); and
(5) pathways and hope for the future, including strategies to nurture and practice
empathy, dissolve fear of “the other,” and cultivate understanding that we are really all one race. The film will end with photos from the 2015 anniversary of the Selma voting rights march and the predominantly African-American Carlton Reese choir singing “Amen” together with the predominantly white choir of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham.
The film will give voice to previously untold stories.