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HOW TO SUE THE KLAN

Directed by John Beder

Cast: Ben Crump, Betty Lawrence Lewis, Constance Rollins, Janice Sanford, Juanita Toney, Karen Dunn, Nate Crumsey, Randolph McLaughlin, Roberta Kaplan, Sonya Rollins

FREE/PAY WHAT YOU CAN

Filmmakers in attendance. Film program will be followed by Q&A.

On April 19, 1980, four Black women stood waiting for a cab on Chattanooga’s 9th St. when a car passed, driven by a local Ku Klux Klan leader. His passengers, also Klansmen, worked together to fire shotgun blasts from the open window. The gunfire wounded the four friends, and a fifth woman was struck by flying glass as the Klansman continued up the road, firing more shots. In criminal court, an all-white jury acquitted two of the Klansmen and sentenced the third to just nine months. He served only six. Civil unrest followed the verdict, sparking national attention and that of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City.

CCR attorney Randolph McLaughlin and his legal team brought the shooters to federal civil court on behalf of the injured women. McLaughlin successfully argued that they were entitled to compensation based on a Reconstruction-era law called the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Enforcement Act. President Grant signed this act into law following the Civil War to curb racial violence in a lawless South where law enforcement and public officials were often Klansmen themselves. It allowed the prosecution of civil rights violations in federal civil court, which meant that survivors could still sue for damages in civil court when the criminal court failed.

Today, the precedent set by the Chattanooga Five is still used to fight hate in a time when racial violence is again on the rise. Thanks to Viola Ellison, Lela Evans, Opal Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Fannie Mae Crumsey, we now have the tools to fight it.

Content Advisory: White supremacy, racism, violence against women, racial violence

Credits
Producer: John Beder, Ben Crump, Cameron S. Mitchell, Raji Ramanathan
Director of Photography: Victor Tyler
Editor: Nina Vizcarrondo
Composer: Amanda Jones, Kristen Personius, Nikhil Seetharam
Sound Designer: Summer Dregs

Precedes

LEADING

Directed by Grace Lee

LEADING follows two budding activists: Audre (10), who fights against Asian hate by creating a teach-in presentation at her school; and Kali (11), who belongs to a Radical Monarchs troop, where she learns about and helps organize a march for Black Lives Matter.

Plays in

HOW TO SUE THE KLAN + LEADING

FREE/PAY WHAT YOU CAN Filmmakers in attendance. Film program will be followed by Q&A.