Detroit — The new documentary, “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” has been greenlit for Detroiters to have an exclusive viewing, both virtually and in-person, starting Aug. 6— the 55th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act into law.
Community activist, the Rev. Horace Sheffield, who also chairs the campaign to rebuild Tulsa’s Black Wall Street — which is expected to extend to Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood — said the effort is to not only raise capital to rebuild Oklahoma’s historic Greenwood neighborhood, but also give Detroiters a chance to pay tribute to the late civil rights activist.
“It’s a way for us to honor the life and legacy of someone who fought for our rights,” Sheffield said. “And given John Lewis’s history in terms of fighting discrimination and overcoming racism, there is no better call to exhibit this movie and raise money.”
Proceeds from the virtual film screenings will go to the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to raise $10 million to restore Black Wall Street, Sheffield said.
Lewis was the last standing of the civil rights activist “Big Six.” He died Friday from pancreatic cancer.
His fight for civil rights included support from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who discovered and nicknamed Lewis “The Boy from Troy”, after Lewis’s hometown and who also allowed Lewis to speak to the “I Have a Dream” crowd prior to King giving the famous speech.
Unlike other famous civil rights leaders, such as King, Lewis’ life is one that has not been reported on as thoroughly as others and the documentary’s producer, former “Living Single” actress Erika Alexander said she hopes this coverage will give people an opportunity to learn more about how Lewis became the “American hero” he is today.
“The documentary gives people a scope into Lewis’ early life as a sharecropper and how he followed his mentor Martin Luther King into the racial storm and then emerged as a figure himself in the movement,” Alexander said. “We get to see how his whole life was forged inside one of the most turbulent times in history — the American Civil Rights movement.”
Sheffield said he plans to hold an in-person screening in the parking lot of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations Sheffield Center with a large projector on Aug. 6.
Five showings are planned with first streaming at 11 a.m. and the last airing at 7 p.m. A maximum of 100 people will be allowed to attend each viewing due to pandemic restrictions.
Online screenings will be available through Aug. 7. Both corporations and individuals can purchase virtual seats at: restoreblackwallstreet2021.com.
Each sponsor will then be provided a private link that only the seatholder can access to stream the documentary. There will also be an exclusive Q&A session with Sheffield and Alexander included in the intimate, virtual screening.
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