Newark, Essex county, New Jersey, United States, North and Central America
A short documentary subject made for National Educational Television's Black Journal television program documenting a political rally in Newark, the 1970 mayoral campaign of Ken Gibson, and an African American voter registration drive with special musical performance by Stevie Wonder.
A short documentary subject made for National Educational Television's Black Journal television program documenting a political rally in Newark, the 1970 mayoral campaign of Ken Gibson, and an African American voter registration drive with special musical performance by Stevie Wonder. It consists of a single reel of 16mm color film.
The film opens with close ups of audience members listening to Amiri Baraka giving a speech about black mobilization in local elections. Multiple shots of Newark, New Jersey play as the narrator explains how demographic shifts are impacting political power in the city and what African Americans are doing to exercise their newly acquired power. The narrator discusses the formation of an alliance between black and Puerto Rican groups based around "operational unity." A shot of a poster reveals a call to constituents to "Select qualified candidates to lead our city" and list Rep. Julian Bond, Dick Gregory, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee as speakers. An interview with Donald Tucker, a member of the convention organizing committee, begins. Tucker talks about the voter registration percentages in the black, Puerto Rican and white communities, and how this black and Puerto Rican political coalition will help create a government that addresses the needs of their communities. An interview with Hilda Hidalgo, a Puerto Rican member of the convention organizing committee, discusses where poor whites fit in with their political organization. She talks about how many poor whites don't believe they are in the same boat as the black and Puerto Rican communities, but nonetheless they are in need and deserving of the same services. She continues to make clear that the alliance is not anti-white, but rather that these communities must unify in order to make progress. The film returns to Amiri Baraka's speech; he puts out a rallying cry for the audience to get out the vote and elect the convention's endorsed candidates. After Baraka finishes his speech, the audience erupts in the Swahili chant, "Harambe," which is call for unity and collective work and struggle of the family. The narrator then explains the shift from the convention to running the election campaign itself. There is a scene of a Puerto Rican man holding a flyer endorsing Ken Gibson for mayor. The narrator further explains that Gibson is a different kind of candidate; instead of the candidate leading the community, the community leads the candidate. Multiple shots of Gibson and Stevie Wonder surrounding by people walking through the streets of Newark. Gibson states that this is more than just a political crusade, but a movement to get real political power into the hands of the people. Stevie Wonder is interviewed and talks about how he's happy to hear about increases in voter registration. A series of brief interviews with people on the street explaining their support for Gibson's candidacy. A man registers people to vote outside a local store, Stevie Wonder dances on a Gibson campaign float, and the film ends with a campaign truck urging people vote April 2nd.