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Greensboro's Child (2002)

5.0 ·

November 3, 1979. Greensboro, North Carolina. Willena Cannon, a lifelong civil rights activist and member of the Workers Viewpoint Organization, helped arrange a “Death to The Klan” rally and conference. As she and her 10-year old son, Kwame, began to participate, the worst possible scenario became a reality.

With police suspiciously absent, a caravan of cars filled with Klan and Nazi members rolled through the rally, engaged in a fight with the protestors and opened fire with shotguns, rifles and pistols, killing 5 and wounding 10. Live footage from local news cameras caught the massacre in its brutal form, yet each of the accused were eventually found innocent of all charges.

In this award-winning documentary, Andy Coon explores the buried evidence from both state and federal court prosecutions by examining the trials under a new lens; he vividly exposes civil trial records, through documentation and interviews, which proved the existence of local police, FBI and ATF informants surrounding the rally.

Going one-step beyond the vision of A&E and The History Channel’s coverage of the event, Coon fast-forwards seven years later, to the plight of an immature, yet harmless, 17-year-old Kwame Cannon. Arrested for six counts of non-violent burglary, Cannon naively accepts a pre-trial plea bargain consisting of two consecutive life sentences. Here’s the catch:

* Proper legal representation was provided to Kwame
* The judge actually tried to warn him of the consequences for accepting the plea
* His mother was advised to skip the hearing due to her roots in community activism.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then this is the story of Greensboro’s Child.

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