Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: March to Justice

A Barely Recognizable United States Emerges in March to Justice

Rep. John Lewis
Sometimes, documentaries about the civil rights movement in the United States hit you so hard over the head they you leave with little more information than you had when you began watching it, but a whole lot more sense you should feel guilty about something.

March to Justice (ID: Investigation Discovery, 7pm) takes an entirely different approach. It effectively, quickly and with intermittently beautiful and shocking images from the United States less than 50 years ago, reveals the key points in the civil rights movement from the people who lived through it.

That first-person perspective - not angry, not shouting - takes civil rights stories we've all heard countless times before and, suddenly, makes them more real, more poignant.

March to Justice follows members of the Kennedy family, including Robert F. Kennedy's daughter Kerry Kennedy and his widow Ethel Kennedy, on a bus tour through civil rights hotbed Alabama by Georgia congressman John Lewis.

The congressman, seen in grainy black-and-white footage as a young man, lived and nearly died through some of the worst moments in that era. He was, for instance, clubbed nearly to death by policeman on one of the three historic marches for voting rights from Selma, Ala. to Montgomery, Ala.

In March, the congressman stands on the moving bus quietly telling his story to the Kennedy family. Those are moving moments because they underscore an almost incomprehensible reality that the U.S. was a country where black people simply did not have basic human rights.

Other legendary figures in the civil rights movement are prominently featured in March, like Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bomb survivor Carolyn McKinstry and Ruby Bridges - the six-year-old black girl integrated into an all-white school who Norman Rockwell famously depicted in one of his paintings.

March to Justice is a quick one-hour, seemingly big-budget look at a familiar topic that sheds new light, and new perspectives on an important time in our history.

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