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HBO’s ’40 Years a Prisoner’ Doc Follows Son’s Effort to Free Parents Imprisoned after MOVE Bombing (Trailer)




Mike Africa Jr. in the HBO documentary “40 Years a Prisoner”

*On the morning of August 8, 1978, the Philadelphia Police Department, at the direction of hardline Mayor Frank Rizzo, engaged in a confrontation with the radical Black organization MOVE and fired thousands of rounds of ammunition into the West Philadelphia home of the social justice group. When the smoke cleared, a police officer named James Ramp had been killed and an unarmed MOVE member named Delbert Africa had been beaten to within an inch of his life by three police officers.

Delbert and his wife Debbie Africa were imprisoned for the cop’s death that day. Their son, Mike Africa Jr., has committed his life to finding out the truth about what really happened and fighting for the release of the parents that he has only ever known through prison walls.

His journey is chronicled in HBO’s feature documentary “40 Years a Prisoner,” debuting Tuesday, December 8 (9:00-10:50 p.m. ET/PT). Using eyewitness accounts and archival footage, the film illuminates the story of a city grappling with racial tension and police brutality with alarming topicality and modern-day relevance.

The documentary was directed by Tommy Oliver and executive produced by Common and Get Lifted Film Co.’s Mike Jackson, John Legend and Ty Stikloriusm with original music by The Roots.

Watch the first official trailer below:

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Civil Rights

TRAILER DEBUT: ‘MLK/FBI’ | Directed By Emmy Award-Winner Sam Pollard | Opens January 15



Martin Luther King Jr1 (younger man - screenshot)

*SYNOPSIS: MLK/FBI is an essential expose of the surveillance and harassment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (labeled by the FBI as the “most dangerous” Black person in America), undertaken by J. Edgar Hoover and the U.S. government.

Based on newly discovered and declassified files, as well as revelatory restored footage, the documentary explores the government’s history of targeting Black activists.

Directed by Emmy® Award-winner and Oscar®-nominee Sam Pollard, MLK/FBI recounts a tragic story with searing relevance to our current moment.

MORE NEWS: THE REAL: Killer Mike’s Optimism About the Georgia Runoff Election, Jesse Williams on Fighting for Social Justice Locally

Sam Pollard

Sam Pollard

DIRECTOR: Sam Pollard is an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated director and producer. His films for HBO,PBS, and the Discovery Channel include the documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Slavery by Another Name, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I Gotta Be Me, ACORN and the Firestorm, Why We Hate, and Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children. Pollard also directed two episodes of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize II. Since 1994 Pollard has served on the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and lives in New York City.

RIVETING. A timely reminder that King’s struggle for racial justice wasn’t straightforward, nor is it close to complete.” – THE ATLANTIC, David Sims

“An engrossing, unsettling documentary. Rigorously focused on the facts of the past, the movie is also as timely as an alarm clock.”- THE NEW YORK TIMESA.O. Scott

“SEARING. Serves as a chilling reminder that white supremacy is not solely a partisan problem; it’s a cruelty baked into the fabric of our political system, poisoning it at every level. Change comes when we allow ourselves to challenge the stories we have been told about our history.” – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTERJourdain Searles

MLK - FBI - poster

Director: Sam Pollard
Producer: Benjamin Hedin
Executive Producers: David Friend, Charlotte Cook, Jeffrey Lurie, Marie Therese Guirgis, Kate Hurwitz, Dana O’Keefe, and Steven Farneth
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Distributor: IFC Films






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Civil Rights

Ga. State Sen. Nikema Williams Elected to Replace Late John Lewis in U.S. Congress (Video)




Georgia state Sen. Nikema Williams (Photo Credit: Twitter / @NikemaWilliams)

*Georgia state Sen. Nikema Williams, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, beat Republican Angela Stanton-King in the Atlanta-based district to replace the late congressman John Lewis in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A special election runoff to become Lewis’ short-term replacement takes place next month, but that winner will only be in Congress until Williams is sworn in on Jan. 3. Neither Williams nor Stanton-King is running in the special election.

Stanton-King, 43, is a reality TV personality and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump.

Williams, 42, joins two other Black women, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, among the state’s most recognizable, influential Democrats. Williams said she wants to use federal power to provide more subsidized health care and guarantee voting rights.

Get to know Nikema Williams in the video below.

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Civil Rights

‘ I Remember When I Couldn’t Vote’: 99-year-old Mississippi Man Born on Plantation Casts Ballot




Dr. Robert H. Smith Sr.

*A 99-year-old Mississippi man, born the son of a sharecropper on a plantation, is reminding all of us about the importance of exercising the right to vote.

Dr. Robert H. Smith Sr., of Jackson, Mississippi wore a face mask while dropping off his absentee ballot in October and donning his “I Voted” sticker.

“I remember when I couldn’t vote,” Smith told ABC News.

Smith lives in Hinds County, the most populous county in Mississippi. He said he stood in line for approximately 20 minutes alongside his son to submit his ballot in-person last month. He shared how proud the moment made him feel after overcoming a number of obstacles throughout his lifetime.

“Voting is an experience that every American citizen should have,” he said, adding, “we the people decide who’s going to be our leader.”

He was born on the Burks Plantation near Rayville, Louisiana, on May 9, 1921. His father was a sharecropper on the plantation but left to become a Baptist preacher who ministered at several local c churches in the region.

Upon graduating from high school, Smith was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and was later promoted to the rank of chief warrant officer in the European Theater of Operations. He went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree at Southern University, master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Ph.D. from Florida State University.


Dr. Robert H. Smith Sr., smiles alongside his wife, Grayce, in December of 1947 at a nightclub in Harlem, New York.

In 1943, during his first visit to New York City, he met a young nurse from the Harlem School of Nursing, Grayce Stewart, who would become his wife of 72 years. Stewart was “the prettiest girl” he’d ever laid eyes on, he said, to this day. Together, the couple has three children, Robert Jr., Rodney, and Rhonda – who took after her mother and became a registered nurse. They also have two grandchildren.


Dr. Robert H. Smith Sr., 99, of Jackson, Miss., smiles alongside his wife, Grayce, and three children, Robert Jr., Rodney, and Rhonda.

Upon completion of his studies, Smith fulfilled his passion for teaching as a professor of sociology at Florida A&M University, dean of liberal studies at Jackson State University and dean of freshman studies at Tougaloo College – all three of which are historically black colleges and universities. Smith also became a Deacon Emeritus at New Hope Baptist Church Jackson, which he counts among his greatest achievements.

Read more about his incredible story below:

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