"Our Thing Is DRUM" - Film Screening and Discussion

Sun, 02/10/2019 - 19:00 to 21:00

American Studies Leipzig and IG Metall Jugend Leipzig cordially invite you to a screening of Finally Got the News on Sunday, 10 February 2019, at Pöge-Haus, Hedwigstraße 20, 04315 Leipzig.

In 1969, a group of young filmmakers from New York traveled to Detroit to document the activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. One of those filmmakers was Rene Lichtman. In Finally Got the News (USA, 1970, 55 min), Rene and his comrades let the activists of the League  speak for themselves. They talk about the working conditions in the auto plants of ‘The Motor City’ and the racism they have experienced from their white foremen, coworkers, and union representatives. Yet, more importantly, they describe the efforts to build an autonomous organization of Black workers, whose sphere of activity is not just limited to the factories. Finally Got the News shines a light on the unique fusion of the Black Power movement and revolutionary labor activism in late 1960s Detroit.      

After the screening of Finally Got the News, we would like to discuss the history and legacy of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers with Rene Lichtman and Darnell Stephens Summers. What became of the activists of the League after the production of the documentary? And in how far do their ideals resonate with a younger generation of activists in the Black Lives Matter movement?

Rene Lichtman is a painter, political activist, and Holocaust Survivor. He was born in Paris in 1937. Rene and his mother survived WWll in hiding while his father was killed in combat against the invading Nazis. Together with his mother, Rene came to the United States in 1950. In the late 1960s, with the beginning of the Vietnam anti-war movement, Rene became a founder of the anti-war film group, Newsreel Documentary Films. In 1992, he helped start the Hidden Children and Child Survivors of Michigan, and was later a founding member of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust. Today, Rene is active in various political and anti-racist groups.  

Darnell Stephen Summers is a documentary filmmaker, political activist, and Vietnam veteran. He lives with his family in Berlin. In 1966, Darnell joined the US Army in which he served until 1970. On leave before being sent to Vietnam, Darnell got involved  in efforts to found the Malcolm X Cultural Center (MXCC) in Inkster, a suburb of Detroit. As a result, he was targeted by the FBI as part of the COINTELPRO program. Darnell met Rene in 1971 in Detroit. Rene’s work and activism has inspired him. As a former member of the Black Workers Congress, an organization that originated from the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Darnell knew and has worked with many of the activists portrayed in Finally Got the News.  

This event is free and open to the public.   


PDF icon FinallyGotTheNewsPoster.pdf3.41 MB
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