Election picks for Sept. 5th primary
Scott Camil and Joe Courter
January 2007

"Negroes With Guns" is the story of a forgotten civil rights figure, Robert Williams, who dared to advocate armed resistance to the violence of the Jim Crow South.

The UF Documentary Institute team of filmmakers, Sandra Dickson, Churchill Roberts, Cindy Hill and Cara Pilson, who previously collaborated on the critically acclaimed "Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore", announced completion of their latest documentary, "Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power" in 2004. Featuring a score by Terence Blanchard, "Negroes With Guns" combines modern-day interviews with rare archival news footage to tell the story of Rob Williams, the forefather of the Black Power movement and a complex man who played a pivotal role in the struggle for respect, dignity and equality for all Americans.

Williams, dubbed the "violent crusader" by some, intended his philosophy of armed self-defense to work in concert with non-violent resistance; instead, he became the catalyst for what has been called a national showdown between these two opposing philosophies of the civil rights movement. In August 1961, Freedom Riders came to Monroe, North Carolina-Williams' hometown-to assist Williams in his civil rights struggle and demonstrate that passive resistance rather than armed self-defense was the superior tactic in the civil rights struggle. But on August 27th all hell broke loose. By the end of the day, Freedom Riders had been bloodied, beaten, and jailed and Rob Williams was on the run from the FBI.

"Negroes With Guns" is not only an incisive look at a truly fascinating man but also a thought-provoking examination of our notions of patriotism and the acceptable limits of dissent.

At the Hippodrome, Monday, Feb. 5 at 7 & 9 pm as part of the Civic Media Center's documentary film series.

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