“Between a now vanished world and culture”

Part Two, The Bridge, asks the question, “Did African Americans achieve integration in the 1960’s or desegregation?” We examine the fate of black institutions that were part of the black community such as its universities, schools and businesses. The military portion seen in this film focuses on the military as one of few opportunities that were available to African Americans before the 1960’s.

The basis for the documentary The Bridge is that the 1960’s were a bridge between a now vanished world and culture of segregation for African Americans and the world of today which started in 1970 in which African Americans were “integrated” into privileges of full citizenship in America.

For young people who have grown up in the 90’s and the 21st century the history of integration must feel ancient like the Civil War. Yet integration happened only 35 years ago. The Bridge notes that full citizenship for African Americans actually came 100 years after such status was granted as a result of the end of the Civil War.

If you graduated from high school in the south before 1970 you graduated from a segregated educational culture. If you graduated in the 1950’s and 60’s you graduated into an integrated world. The Civil Rights struggle provided these opportunities and African Americans rushed to take advantage of it. Left behind were the institutions and culture of segregation. Left behind were some institutions that possibly should have been taken with African Americans because those institutions did not exist in the “new” world they entered. These institutions were the schools, teachers, communities, businesses in which African Americans of every economic and social level lived together. Has the desegregation of schools and employment created a new African American underclass left behind by those with the family structures and values built for the pursuit of the American Dream.

Other Stories that are a part of The Bridge are:

  • The Hemphill Rosenwald school - a history of the consolidation of a small two room school during integration as told by faculty and student interviews.
  • The story of Jim & Winnie Shankle. Is told in Texas history as slaves who founded a freedman’s community in Shankleville Texas. A historical plaque commemorates Jim and Winnie’s story of slavery in Mississippi and Texas and the founding of Shankleville. We have an interview of Trogie Shankle, 90+ years old at the Shankleville Cemetery.
  • The Bridge is also about Vietnam. The moving story of Herman Wright Sr. service and how he Dorie and Clinton Wright were there at the same time. Dorie and his wife Joyce contribute a moving story of a close family in war.

The Bridge is currently in production...if you have any questions or information to share please contact us: info@thelongblackline.com

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