Brick By Brick: A Civil Rights Story (2007)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  

USA, 2007.  .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Film Editing by .

Segregation is not just a problem in the southern United States, as this key example of a controversial housing project in the state of New York makes clear.  Decades after neighbourhoods had been drawn along clear boundary lines, including fencing off streets predominantly inhabited by African Americans, the city of Yonkers is ordered to integrate its population.

Among the projects initiated is an experiment that has proven successful elsewhere, moving citizens from low-income apartment buildings into publicly-funded housing situated amongst middle-class streets, as a way to improve the lives of people living in what have become crime-infested ghettos.

The reaction by the populace to these new neighbours coming in is not good, and as the people being moved are for the most part black or Latino, there is no small amount of racism involved in people’s reactions to the proposition.

Meanwhile, the government of Yonkers puts off implementing the program to the point of being threatened with penalization by the federal government.  Anyone who enjoyed Paul Haggis’ excellent miniseries Show Me A Hero will appreciate seeing this hour-long investigation of the origins of the story, including as it does a look at its key figures such as Mary Dorman (portrayed by Catherine Keener in the film).


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