On January 17 starting at 7PM CT, Turner Classic Movies will broadcast eight films from CFA’s Film Group Collection, including feature films American Revolution 2 (1969) and The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971), to mark the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The films feature activism in the face of individual and institutional violence, and are as relevant now as they were when they were made. Film scholar, archivist, and curator Jacqueline Stewart will host the evening.
In 2004, a few CFAers were searching through the newly acquired and massive Chicago Public Library film collection when they discovered Cicero March (1966) and six other short documentaries within a series of films called Urban Crisis and the New Militants. These films depict, close up, the violence and civil unrest that took place in Chicago during the late 1960s. At the time, these viscerally explosive films were unknown to most, and were not readily accessible to the general public. In 2005, Bill Cottle and Mike Gray, the former principals of the collective The Film Group, placed elements from these films in CFA’s care.
These seven short docs became CFA’s earliest conservation projects, resulting in new prints and negatives of each film. Two feature-length documentaries, American Revolution 2 and The Murder of Fred Hampton, gave ballast to this collection and in more recent years were conserved as well. This is the only collection in our archive that is photochemically preserved in its entirety. Cicero March was added to the National Film Registry in 2013, and The Murder of Fred Hampton was added just this year.
Monday, January 17th:
7:00 PM CT American Revolution 2 (1969)
8:30 PM Black Moderates and Black Militants (1969)
8:45 PM Cicero March (1966)
9:00 PM The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
10:40 PM The People’s Right to Know: Police vs. Reporters (1969)
11:00 PM American Revolution 2 (1969)
12:30 AM Social Confrontation: The Battle of Michigan Avenue (1969)
12:45 AM Law and Order vs. Dissent (1969)
1:00 AM The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
2:40 AM The Right to Dissent: A Press Conference (1969)
All of these films, plus Police Power and Freedom of Assembly: The Gregory March, will also be available to stream anytime on HBO Max starting on January 17th.
Cicero March (1966) details a civil-rights march on September 4, 1966, as Robert Lucas led activists through Cicero, Illinois, to protest restrictions in housing laws. As white residents responded with jeers and insults, the police struggled to prevent a riot.
Black Moderates and Black Militants (1969) documents an unrehearsed conversation among three members of the Black Panther Party (including future congressman Bobby Rush) and the principal of an African American high school. The participants debate strategies for ending racism.
The People’s Right to Know: Police Vs. Reporters (1968) features photojournalist Paul Sequeira speaking on his experience covering the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the police attempts to physically restrict reporters’ access.
Law and Order Vs. Dissent (1968) intercuts footage of the police response to the demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention with press conferences by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department in which they blame the violence on student protestors.
The Right to Dissent: A Press Conference (1968) documents a pre-convention press conference of the National Coalition to End the War in Vietnam. David Dellinger and Rennie Davis recount their difficulties in dealing with the City of Chicago to plan their protests against the Democratic National Convention.
Social Confrontation: The Battle of Michigan Avenue (1968) shows the events at the 1968 Democratic National Convention including National Guardsmen detaining protestors, mass arrests near Grant Park, and Mayor Daley cursing at opponents from the convention floor.
American Revolution 2 (1969) charts social turbulence in Chicago of the late 1960s. It includes footage of the Democratic National Convention protest and riot, a critique of the events by working-class African Americans in Chicago, and attempts by the Black Panther Party to organize poor white youths on the city’s north side.
The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971) began as a documentary of activist Fred Hampton and the Illinois Black Panther Party. During production, Hampton was assassinated, and the focus turned to an investigative report of his death. Through re-enactments, evidence from the scene, and interviews, the film implicates the Chicago police in Hampton’s death.