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.
Bryant interviews politicians and everyday Americans in front of Washington, D.C. monuments and in ghetto alleys. He points out that the Black community has 40 percent of its population on welfare, 72 percent of its children born out of wedlock and a 48 percent abortion rate, and asks “Is this what the black community has to show for its 95% support of the Democratic Party?”
He also fills in some of the history of the civil rights movement and the Democratic and Republican Parties that is not generally known. Even as a college history major, I didn’t realize that it was Republican President Eisenhower who desegregated the American military and introduced the first civil rights act since reconstruction – The Civil Rights Act of 1957.
But, filling in the blanks and shattering myths is what this film is all about. According to Bryant, who had a front row seat to the civil rights movement in the South, “There is a 50-year-old lie that has caused an entire people to become harlots to the political idea that government knows what is best.”
Bryant is not alone in supporting this belief. The film’s theme reveals itself as Bryant travels the country interviewing people from every economic and social background. Dr. Alveda King, Economist Thomas Sowell, Florida Congressman Allen West, Presidential Candidate Herman Cain, commentator and activist Star Parker and talk show host David Webb are a few of the people Bryant encounters on his trek along the new Underground Railroad.
No matter where you place yourself on the political spectrum, this film is worth viewing. It offers insights into the last fifty years of the American experience that are valuable to any citizen. The conclusion of the film is extremely powerful and will be moving for anyone who loves the United States of America.
Find out where the film is playing at the Runaway Slave website.