runawayslaveSlavery 2012
Runaway Slave
Narration by Reverend C. L. Bryant
Interviews: Glenn Beck, Deneen Borelli, Andrew Breitbart, Stephen Broden, Herman Cain, Tony Katz, Alveda King, Star Parker, Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, Alfonzo Rachel, Erik Rush, Sonja Schmidt, Thomas Sowell, Mason Weaver, David Webb, Congressman Allen West and Bill Whittle
Director/Scriptwriter: Pritchett Cotton
Cinematography: Pritchett Cotton
Composers: James F. Hagood, Jr., Jason Hagood and Pritchett Cotton
Ground Floor Video/Riddled With Bullets Film/Freedom Works Foundation
Rating: no rating but could be PG 13 for themed material
Running Length: 110 minutes
The term “runaway slave,” usually brings to mind the Civil War-era, before and after, when slaves used the Underground Railroad to freedom. “Runaway Slave” in this documentary has a different connotation. As narrated by Reverend C. L. Bryant, a one-time NAACP chapter president, slavery can be in many forms from captivity to marriage to debt. In 19th century slavery, people were dependent on their owners for food, clothing, shelter---if even these were provided in dire circumstances. Likening a part of today’s black society to living on a “Government plantation,” the premise of the film is to move away from “entitlements,” which is considered a new form of slavery.
Reverend Bryant is from De Soto Parish, LA, and lost his church after nine years for being “too conservative.” Bryant uses the term “slavery,“ not in the physical sense of chains, but in a monetary sense of people who are caught up in a welfare system and can't get out. In this documentary (directed, scripted and photographed by Pritchett Cotton), Reverend Bryant travels the U. S. interviewing celebrities and politicians. This is in celebration of the 47th anniversary of the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech on a dream. Parts of this speech are shown, and what is poignant is that Dr. King’s daughter, Dr. Alveda King, gives a speech at the culmination of a contemporary March with this phrase “…come together as brothers and sisters or die alone as fools.”  
The documentary states that in the earlier days of slavery in the U. S., most families were a two-parent household, so the children were brought up with respect and discipline. The 1960’s had a shift in this in that now 70%  of black children are born to single mothers. Father’s are absent, 40% of prison inmates are black, 20% live in poverty and there is a 47% drop-out rate in the black male population.
Tim Johnson, curator at the Frederick Douglas House says, “Let a black man stand by himself. If he falls, he falls---don't enable him.”  The teachings of Douglas have been lost by the wayside, and it is recommended that more people study what he had to say, which is pertinent today. David Webb’s comment is “…black people should quit whining about reparations. Do you see people running out of America?” In a scene where people are shouting to speak at a rally and there is no monitor, someone remarks, “Yelling doesn't make you right.”
To have this film released in theaters during an Election Year, will give the audience a new look at a contemporary situation. Interspersed with the interviews is footage of marching feet, which seems to be used to lengthen the film, and that gets tiresome. Documentaries usually have hand-held camera work, but editing here is uneven. The audience can start checking their watches. “Runaway Slave” deems to show that in poverty, apathy is part of the problem. A kind of its-always-been-this-way-why-change-it attitude. There are many interviews and many statistics, but no concrete suggestions as to what to do. 
Copyright 2012 Marie Asner
A complimentary copy of “Runaway Slave” was provided by Biscuit Media Group.