Home Of The Brave

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While America routinely acknowledges the debt of gratitude owed to certain martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement such as Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers, the nation has overlooked others, such as Viola Liuzzo, a married mother of five from Detroit, who sacrificed her life in Selma, Alabama on March 25, 1965.

Liuzzo, the only white female to die for this cause during the desegregation era, was murdered in a drive-by shooting by a carful of Klansmen. Though her death helped embarrass Congress into passing the Voters' Rights Act, her legacy remained tainted until now by a malicious FBI smear campaign. Among the lies deliberately disseminated to the press were allegations that Liuzzo was a slut and a drug addict with needle marks in her arms.

Finally, 40 years later, thanks to Home of the Brave, the record has been set straight. This heartbreaking documentary was directed by Paola di Florio who, with the assistance of some of Liuzzo's still-traumatized children, took advantage of the Freedom of Information Act to unearth evidence which establishes U.S. Government complicity not only in the woman's defamation but in her death, itself. Relying on a file thicker than the one kept on the entire Klan, the film provides incontrovertible proof that Liuzzo had been specifically targeted by the Bureau. Furthermore, we learn that an undercover FBI informant not only rode in the automobile with their mother's assassins, but might have even been the triggerman. The picture compassionately combines her kids' tearful reminiscences with archival news footage and insightful interviews with Andrew Young, John Lewis and others who had been on hand in Selma. In sum, Home of the Brave is a touching tribute to a true American hero who was betrayed by her country during one of the most shameful periods in its history.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 75 minutes
Studio: Home Vision

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