This powerful documentary by Rev. C.L. Bryant is crucial viewing for those who truly want to change the plight of black Americans and bring an end to the racial divide in our country. Runaway Slave throws into stark contrast the opposing views of entitlement foisted on the black community by LBJ’s Great Society against the message of self-reliance and independence building among those who want to heal the wounds of our past.
Through a series of interviews and candid conversations on the streets across America, Rev. Bryant reveals a racial bitterness in the black community and attempts to explain, not only why people still feel this way, but how their champions in the Democrat Party are responsible for sustaining an environment that cultivates these feelings. The most important questions, that deserves and answer in this film is: How can people continue to follow community leaders who offer no solutions to lift up the black community while simultaneously fueling dependence, envy and hatred among those people?
The beginning of the documentary compares Rev. Al Sharpton’s Reclaim the Dream Rally to Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally, which occurred at the same time just blocks away. At Sharpton’s Rally, there was a message of anger, resentment and false accusations; at Beck’s, a call for community based solutions and an effort to right the wrongs of the past. At Sharpton’s rally there are demands for reparations and accusations of racism; at Beck’s a call to step out of the darkness of the past and create good for all people.
The result of these distinctly opposing messages was clear in the reactions of the people Rev. Bryant engages as the rallies end. A young woman leaving the Reclaim the Dream Rally asserts that whites are guilty by inheritance of a legacy based on 500 years of historic oppression and brutality. Several other people claim that America is a racist nation. All of this is fueled by Rev. Sharpton’s speech in which he said “We took food stamps and welfare and re-ordered the economy… We know how to sucker-punch you…”. How do we expect a nation to heal when our community leaders are promoting this message to the people?
Rev. Bryant is attempting to change this mindset and build a network of community leaders with a positive message. He asks, “Why are we divided along racial lines?”, then sets out to explain the answer and offer solutions. One of the young men he interviews sums up the issue by answering, “Our attitude and self-enthusiasm are holding us back”.
This leaves us with only one real question to answer. Will we allow the wounds of our past to be our undoing?