Anthology Film Archives

THE PEOPLE UNITED + BLACK AND BLUE [Co-Presented with Third World Newsreel]

July 15 – July 28

This week we begin a new collaboration with Third World Newsreel (TWN), with a virtual pairing of two extraordinary documentaries about communities struggling against police brutality: BLACK AND BLUE (Hugh King & Lamar Williams, 1987) and THE PEOPLE UNITED (Alonzo Rico Speight, 1985).

An alternative media arts organization that fosters the creation, appreciation, and dissemination of independent film and video by and about people of color and social justice issues, TWN was founded in 1967 as Newsreel, an activist filmmaker collective that soon grew to encompass chapters throughout the country. The New York chapter evolved into Third World Newsreel in the mid-1970s and strengthened its commitment to developing filmmakers and audiences of color. Today, TWN carries on the progressive vision of its founders, and remains the oldest media arts organization in the U.S. devoted to cultural workers of color and their global constituencies.

In the wake of the protests resulting from the killing of George Floyd, we’ve been recommending – and in certain instances, presenting – a selection of films about police brutality, systemic racism, and civil rights, including one extraordinary and little-known film from TWN’s distribution catalogue: BLACK AND BLUE, which chronicles the impassioned community response to decades of deadly force against people of color by members of the Philadelphia police force. BLACK AND BLUE has been (and continues to be) available for streaming free of charge thanks to TWN and the filmmakers. And now, Anthology and TWN co-present a film that is a perfect amplification of and complement to BLACK AND BLUE. Alonzo Rico Speight’s THE PEOPLE UNITED documents a similar struggle against systemic racism in another American city, Boston, MA, where in the late 1970s racial violence and police brutality were exposed and enflamed by the conflict over school bussing, and the black community was further terrorized by the brutal and still unsolved murders of 12 black women within an 18-month period. THE PEOPLE UNITED captures this fraught moment in the history of Boston (and the country as a whole), and the protest movement it spawned. Like BLACK AND BLUE, it demonstrates how deeply embedded police brutality and racial violence are in our society, how little has changed over the past 40 years, and how urgently change is needed now.

Alonzo Rico Speight is an independent producer, director, writer of film and theatre, as well as a film and video editor and educator. His filmography includes WHO’S GONNA TAKE THE WEIGHT?, DEFT CHANGES, NEW GENERATION, CHOICES, DEFIANT, and THE PEOPLE UNITED. Currently, Speight is producing a feature documentary on Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist, philosopher, and revolutionary thinker.

BLACK AND BLUE is available to stream free-of-charge here. To purchase a streaming rental of THE PEOPLE UNITED, click here. The streaming rental income will be split between Third World Newsreel and the Black Lives Matter Global Network.

Special thanks to JT Takagi, Roselly Torres, and Eugene Lee (Third World Newsreel).

Hugh King & Lamar Williams

1987, 58 min, 16mm-to-digital

Alonzo Speight

1985, 48 min, 16mm-to-digital

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