[Local events] FWD: Tomorrow, Sun 6/25, Combative Phase screening/discussion

Passages Bookshop david at passagesbookshop.com
Sat Jun 24 14:55:31 PDT 2017

*Screening and conversation with filmmaker Don Amis **
**and last weekend of /THE COMBATIVE PHASE/*

*Sunday, June 25*
3:00 pm

*Yale Union* <https://yaleunion.org>
800 SE 10th Avenue

/THE COMBATIVE PHASE/ <http://yaleunion.org/the-combative-phase/>
Exhibition open Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, 12:00–6:00 pm

/UJAMII UHURU SCHULE/ [Community Freedom School]
Dir: Don Amis, 1974
16mm transferred to digital video
9 min.

Dir: Charles and Altina Carey, 1968
58 min.

Don Amis moved to Los Angeles in 1968, with the specific intention to 
work with Operation Bootstrap, a social program operating from an unused 
warehouse at the corner of 42nd Street and Central Avenue in South East 
Los Angeles. Founded two months after the Watts Rebellion, Bootstrap was 
initiated by Lou Smith and Robert Hall, two previously active members of 
the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) who became disillusioned with the 
organization’s lack of presence in and direct support for the black 
communities of Los Angeles.

In the neighborhood of Avalon, where Bootstrap was located, 35% of 
families were living below the poverty line established by the Social 
Security Administration. Rebooting the Watts slogan “burn, baby, burn” 
as the motto “learn, baby, learn,” Bootstrap centered on the provision 
of communication and job training programs by volunteer teachers, and 
quickly gained a level of momentum with support from both liberal and 
conservative ends of the political spectrum. It also became an 
established space for debate between radical black activists and white 
liberals that pushed beyond civil rights based notions of equality, into 
the confrontation of structural racism.

In 1969, Amis entered UCLA in the High Potential Program, and the 
following year applied to the film program after taking an undergraduate 
cinematography class. Distinct from many of his African American 
colleagues at UCLA, who have latterly been grouped under the moniker 
“the L.A. Rebellion” and who predominantly worked in narrative film, 
Amis focused on a documentary approach to filmmaking. Rather than adopt 
film as a mode of personal expression, he saw the need to engage 
directly with acts of social change, seeking to reflect “the rebellion 
going on in society.”

Amis’s UCLA “Project One” film /Ujamii Uhuru Schule/ [Community Freedom 
School] is a portrait of an Afrocentric primary school in South Los 
Angeles. In the face of persistent segregation and discriminatory school 
conditions, the Freedom School movement emerged around the U.S. in the 
early 1960s with curricula that focused on the social, political, and 
economic context of existing race relations and the Civil Rights 
Movement, alongside traditional classes. In Amis’s depiction of Ujamii 
Uhuru Schule (Swahili for Community Freedom School) the school’s 
teaching of the importance of cultural values and self-defense, under 
the banner of the Pan-African flag, highlights a shift in the early ’70s 
toward the cultural and political autonomy sought through the black 
power movement.

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