This Black Soil | Chicago Reader

This Black Soil

Teresa Konechne directed this fascinating 2004 video documentary about Bayview, Virginia, a bucolic coastal town of a few hundred families—many of them directly descended from the earliest slaves brought over from Africa. Loss of manufacturing jobs turned this prosperous working-class community into one of the poorest in the nation, and in 1994 the governor resolved to build a maximum-security prison in the area, figuring that the lure of prison jobs, combined with Bayview's lack of political clout, would make the townspeople compliant. He guessed wrong, and the video chronicles the inspiring story of what Bayview's citizens did for themselves. This is essential viewing for anyone interested in the future of grassroots democracy. 58 min.

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