Freedom Song is set in the small fictional town of Quinlan, Mississippi, in 1961. The Civil Rights Movement is in full force, making its way through the cities, towns and rural communities of the Deep South. The story is told through the eyes of Vicellous Reon Shannon’s character, an African-American teenager inspired by the arrival of an organizer from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The young man joins the crusade to desegregate Quinlan, even through his involvement threatens to destroy his relationship with his father (Danny Glover).
SNCC trains Owen and a group of his school friends to lead peaceful protests against segregation. The protests include sit-ins at public buildings, such as libraries, bus stations and businesses. They are also taught to help African-Americans register to vote – an act that typically is met with brutal resistance by the forces of segregation. In chronicling the effect of the movement on the volunteers, their families, and their community, Freedom Song places heroism squarely on the shoulders of the local people – the unsung volunteers who risked their lives to effect change at the grassroots level. First airs on TNT Sunday 2/27/00, at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
Despite some objectionable language, we believe this is a well-made and important film. There are several television features during the month of February spotlighting past injustices toward African Americans, but this one stands out. Not only does it point out the courage it took on the part of a minority to gain equal rights, but it is also presents a solid message that if we are to make a change, we have to take a stand. If ever there was a message the Christian community needed to heed, this is one. “But you are a chosen people…that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light,” 1 Peter 2:9.