“We live in a world that is so heavily shaped by that movement,” says an interviewee in Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power. The first trailer for Sam Pollard and Geeta Gandbhir’s documentary shares the story behind a movement to mobilize Black voters amid systemic disenfranchisement. The film, which opens in theatres beginning December 2 from Greenwich Entertainment, offers a look back at recent history that echoes to this day.
Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power takes audiences to the titular county in Alabama with a population that was 80 percent Black, yet had not a single Black voter during the civil rights movement. Pollard and Gandbhir give voice to residents who took the promise of the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act and turned it into action. Archival footage and interviews with the campaigners and the new generations of activists they inspired chronicle the story of bringing out the Black vote in the face of intimidation and violence. The film has obvious parallels to the contemporary threats to voting rights posed by gerrymandering and systemic racism in the USA.
The film marks the latest collaboration for Pollard and Gandbhir, who previously won Emmys together for editing the documentaries When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and By the People: The Election of Barack Obama. Pollard’s recent credits as a director include MLK/FBI and Mr. Soul!, while Gandbhir recently directed the doc series Black and Missing and the short Call Center Blues. Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. Patricia Aufderheide at Documentary said the film “not only revives but electrifies a too-long-hidden story about voting right.”
Watch the first trailer for the film below.
Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power opens in theatres beginning Dec. 2.
Synopsis: The passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 represented not the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement, but the beginning of a new, crucial chapter. Nowhere was this next battle better epitomized than in Lowndes County, Alabama, a rural, impoverished county with a vicious history of racist terrorism. In a county that was 80 percent Black but had zero Black voters, laws were just paper without power. This isn’t a story of hope but of action. Through first person accounts and searing archival footage, Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power tells the story of the local movement and young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers who fought not just for voting rights, but for Black Power in Lowndes County.