Reel Talk: ‘Free Angela and All Political Prisoners’

by Justine Love, contributing writer
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Activist Angela Davis speaks onstage at "Free Angela & All Political Prisoners" press conference during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sept. 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.  (Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Activist Angela Davis speaks onstage at “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners” press conference during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sept. 10, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Periodically, Hollywood provides us with a cadre of films offering a historic perspective — hence, “Lincoln,” “Argo,” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” which were critically acclaimed last year.

This year’s best keep secret is “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,” produced by Shola Lynch. “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” is a documentary of the journey of Dr. Angela Davis through an unfair legal system and a character assassination.

Many have seen the posters of Davis with her iconic Afro, fist clinched, and the slogan “Free Angela.” But few remember the struggle of a young African-American philosophy professor at the University of California who was charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder in the death of Judge Harold Haley.

Hours after the judge issued the warrant, a massive attempt to arrest Davis began. On Aug. 18, 1970, four days after the initial warrant was issued, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made Davis just the third woman — and the 309th person — to appear on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list.

For many, this is a piece of history forgotten. But for others, it serves as a refresher of how things were. Listening to Davis, her legal team, and family tell their story is one of enlightenment, strength, and respect for those who are incarcerated for their beliefs in many oppressed countries.

It is an eye-opening 101 minutes, so be prepared to grab a cup of coffee and engage in conversation after the movie.

See you at the concession stand!


Justine Love is the director of Community and Public Affairs for CBS Washington, including WPGC. Check back for more Reel Talk reviews.
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