Pastor C.L. Bryant got in big trouble. His church fired him as pastor. The NAACP stripped him of his position as Chapter President. Did he steal funds? Engage in immoral behavior? Run naked down Main Street? Worse! He joined the Tea Party.
His story is told in the new film “Runaway Slave”, directed by Pritchett Cotten, which premiered January 13 in Los Angeles, with an opening around the country coinciding with the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The film was produced by Luke Livingston and Beverly Zaslow and funded by Matt Kibbe’s Freedom Works Foundation. The intense editing was done by Matthew Perdie.
Bryant explains, “I was once a black radical. I was sold out to the cause. But my personal faith and convictions caused the NAACP to strip me of my title for reasons you’ll hear in the movie. It was then that my eyes opened to the oppression of our government on the black community, and I became a conservative at home and in the ballot box. My involvement with the Tea Party put my name on a national stage and allowed this project to take flight.”
The film takes viewers on a journey with Bryant across the country that traces the footsteps of runaway slaves who escaped along routes that became known as the Underground Railroad. He travels into the heart of black communities across the U.S. along a new Underground Railroad. He meets with community organizers, demonstrators, prominent activists and ordinary people trying to solve problems in their communities. He asks “Are we truly ‘Free at last?’”.
There is a segment in the film where he asks, or tries to ask, this question to prominent civil rights leaders. Their answers illuminate the problem of slavery to the welfare state. The sequence in which Al Sharpton avoids answering the question is classic.