Documentary to focus on civil rights in Grand Rapids


The Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. (Spring 2020)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A company in western Michigan is producing a documentary that will focus on the struggle for civil rights in Grand Rapids.

The documentary is based on the book “A City Within a City: The Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan” and is in the final stages of production, WXMI-TV reported Wednesday.

It is scheduled for release in August.

“There’s so much when you’re documenting a community that hasn’t been documented,” filmmaker Victor Williams told the television station.

Williams, Jazmyne Fuentes and Rodney Brown formed film-production company Grand Stand Pictures in 2018.

The documentary “provides a lot of insight into a lot of the games that are played here in the city for a very long time,” said Fuentes.

“There’s kind of a facade of a progressive, very open-minded community, but then there are a lot of road blocks that are thrown out at the same time,” she told WXMI-TV.

The book was authored in 2012 by Todd Robinson and studies issues around school integration and bureaucratic reforms. 

Grand Stand Pictures says the book articulates the Black experience in the city, but the documentary allows more people to understand and learn the ways in which it impacts their present lives.

The company has partnered with Robinson, interviewed residents and held community meetings.

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