Monday, November 21, 2011

Ain't Scared of Your Jails

After watching the documentary film, Ain't Scared of Your Jails, I came out thinking how crazy it must have been during that time period. It was only 40-50 years ago but that shows how far we have come. The film was about the early civil rights movement leading up to the Freedom Riders movement and its affect on the nation afterwards. Early in the Civil Rights movement students and community members lead the way with the protests. Protest tactics included peaceful sit-ins at restaurants, and diners primarily, but soon they occurred at local government areas and segregated areas of the city. The protest involve people sitting down or remaining in place peacefully in a form of rebellion against the segregated society. They would be there for days on end until eventually they were attacked by racist mobs or arrested by local police while still remaining nonviolent. In the film one quote that caught my ear was by Ben West, major of Nashville, Tennessee. "They asked me some pretty soul-searching questions. And one that was addressed to me as a man, and I tried as best I could to answer it frankly and honesty, that I could not agree that it was morally right for someone to sell them merchandise and refuse them service. And I had to answer it just exactly that way...I would answer it the same way because it was a moral and it was one that a man has to answer and not a politician." This caught my ear, because it was the first time I heard a governing official admit that segregation is wrong, and back then it was was seen as the first of many wins the Civil Rights movement will eventually achieve.


  1. It made me wish we could get back to that in our politics, where a person could answer a question as a man and not a politician. He didn't spin or evade: he said what he thought was right, and if he was wrong, he'd live with that. I came out of the viewing with great respect for Ben West and for the polite and tough young students who put the question to him, Diane Nash especially.

  2. That quote was very powerful, and i think it seemed to have a great impact on the people who heard it. If the government officials in Alabama and Mississippi would have been more like Mr. West the brutality involved in the Freedom Rides could have been limited. More politicians should strive to be honest like Ben West was.