CBS NEWS SPECIAL: FOUR PORTRAITS IN BLACK (TV)

Summary

This documentary and panel discussion, hosted by correspondent Hal Walker, provides a portrait of four middle-class African-American families, as well as an analysis of the current state of the black community in America. The program begins with a discussion about the effects of the civil rights movement. There are excerpts from speeches by four black leaders -- Stokely Carmichael, Roy Wilkins, H. Rap Brown, and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. -- which illustrate the fact that various African-Americans demanded social change during the civil rights movement. Footage is shown of violent uprisings which occurred in black communities following KingÕs assassination, in addition to scenes in which the federal government used the military to end the uprisings. At this point Hal Walker wonders why the revolutionary spirit that characterized the 1960s no longer prevails, and he suggests that the answer lies within the portraits of the four black families featured in this program. The first portrait is of Don and Delores Maxwell, a young college-educated couple with one child. Don has two jobs, in addition to owning some property, and Delores works as well. Don is an active community organizer, and he and Delores both comment on their current approach to bringing about positive social change. Walker then provides statistics concerning the changing economic situation of African-Americans, suggesting that the entry of African-Americans into the mainstream has weakened the revolutionary spirit that was present in the sixties. A profile of the Morgan family is then presented. Prince and Dorothy Morgan, who are from Atlanta, both work in addition to raising their eight children. They discuss the struggles of moving into a suburban neighborhood that is "in transition," with black residents moving into an area in which the residents are all white, resulting in "white flight" and city rezoning efforts. Walker interjects statistics concerning the economic prospects for a two-parent household. The next profile is of the Reeves family in Kansas City. Greg Reeves is one of a few African-Americans in management at Sears, and his wife, Beverly, works, goes to school, and cares for their child. Both discuss their career goals, and Beverly explains the difference between the opportunities available to her and those which were available to her mother. Walker then refers to a poll that concerns the opinions of both black and white Americans regarding discrimination and the African-American work ethic. The last portrait is of the Collins family, which moved from Mississippi to Kansas City in search of work. Willy Collins has two jobs, and Minnie Collins works in addition to raising seven children and going to school. Minnie recalls the hardships that a Southern tenant farmer faces, and the difficulties that people in the North who don't have an education face as they try to support their families. But she also expresses her appreciation for the opportunities available in the North. Willy, on the other hand, discusses his desire to return to the South, where his family owns some property. After the film, Walker hosts a panel discussion with Congressman Andrew Young (D-GA), Reverend Jesse Jackson, and union organizer Addie Wyatt. Their discussion focuses on the following subjects, among others: the benefits and disadvantages when both parents work; the long history of unpaid or underpaid black labor; the need for positive portrayals of black people in order to combat stereotypes; the importance of the black church; the unrecognized plight of the working poor; and the importance of transcending class divisions with black unity. They also discuss the following: the role of labor unions; the increasing participation of African-Americans in politics; the tenuous position of the new black middle class; the progress achieved by the civil rights movement; and the need for the black community to remain committed to the vision that fueled the civil rights movement. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: CBS
  • DATE: April 26, 1974 Friday 9:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:33:45
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T86:0243
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: African-American Collection - News/Talk
  • SERIES RUN: CBS - TV, 1974
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Perry Wolff … Executive Producer, Writer
    • David Fuchs … Producer, Director
    • Ken Sable … Director, Studio segment directed by
    • Hal Walker … Reporter
    • Jesse Jackson … Guest
    • Addie Wyatt … Guest
    • Andrew Young … Guest
    • H. Rap Brown
    • Stokely Carmichael
    • Willy Collins
    • Minnie Collins
    • Don Maxwell
    • Maxwell, Delores (audio i.d.)
    • Prince Morgan
    • Dorothy Morgan
    • Reeves, Greg (audio i.d.)
    • Reeves, Beverly (audio i.d.)
    • Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Roy Wilkins