Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

THE BLACK SOIL: A STORY OF STRUGGLE AND CHANGE

 

Year: 2001
Country: USA
Run Time: 58 minutes

"It's like time stood still." "It's a nice place to live but needs to come into the 20th century." "Everyone I know is living paycheck-to-paycheck." "All of the economic bases pulled out." Voices of Bayview, Virginia, a predominantly Afro-American rural community on the Atlantic coast. Formerly backbreaking field labor provided a livelihood; now machines do most of the crop picking and sorting, and Bayview is a region of the USA virtually indistinguishable from the Third World. Up to 80 percent of its working-poor residents subsist without running water, heating utilities or transportation. And so it looked like a done deal in 1995, when the state decided to build a prison there ? two other areas having been rejected because of the environmental impact on native fish and raccoons. Black folks apparently didn't matter as much. But instead of accepting it, Bayview became radicalized. Residents banded together in the Bayview Citizens for Social Justice to fight against the undesirable multi-million-dollar federal project. But that David-vs.-Goliath struggle is only the beginning of the story, as Bayview residents gain a sense of taking their destiny in their own hands, and the BCSJ starts to navigate a labyrinth of government offices and grants, seeking to address at last the basic human improvements that should have taken place decades ago. The documentary proves that poverty need not mean ignorance, apathy or surrender.

Director
Teresa Konechne

Producer
Teresa Konechne

Editing
Teresa Konechne, Rebecca Parks

Print Source
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