Keep. Moving. Forward.

I think that the ending of Boycott is more helpful to our understanding of the movement because it shows how the fight against injustice is continuous. In the end we see MLK faced with the question of joining his fellow activist on the bus, but he declines. Clark Johnson takes away the satisfaction that the audience would get from seeing MLK finally get to do what he had been so fervently fighting for, and leaves this space for satisfaction empty, reminding the reader that the job is not done. Instead the audience sees an overdressed MLK walk up to speak to a group of you men before being chastised by a black and white cop. This projection into the future sums up in the films effort to redefine the widely accepted perception of what the movement is.

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The presence of the outwardly progressive police, one black and one white along with two different genders, supposed to the largely white male presence in policing in the earlier years, is representative of how systems of oppression progress with the time, and the final signal the female cop gives to MLK and the boys reinforces how there is always a threat to the community to be weary of. MLK’s conversation to the young group of young men symbolizes how there are always minds to influence, while the presence of the police car shows how there’s always and injustice to fight. Johnson leaves the audience with a remembrance that the movement is not linear and clear cut, neither is it something that is cemented in one place on the historical timeline. Instead, it is ever evolving and following us into the future.

3 thoughts on “Keep. Moving. Forward.

  1. I agree with this a lot. I really like the quote that you used from Martin Luther King Jr. It really connects well to the ending of Boycott reminding and showing us that it was not the true end of the movement and they needed to continue moving forward.

  2. Hi Ty, I greatly enjoyed reading your post regarding the end of Boycott. As you note, it is important to realize that the Movement was not linear and clear cut. Do you believe that the ending of 4 little girls is too clear cut? I believe that the ending, especially with Chris McNair’s remembrance of Denise’s photograph, symbolizes the ability of a community to heal, as Valerie Smith notes, but do you think the film’s ending identifies that the movement is “ever evolving and following us into the future?” Great post!

  3. Hi Ty, I really like what you said about the film showing that the movement is non-linear. When I was watching it I definitely felt like the ending wasn’t clear cut, especially when the police car appeared. I think the music near the end of the film also fits well with this idea of needing to keep moving forward. The lyrics “we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes” signals that there’s much more work to be done outside of the boycott.

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