Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
- Langston Hughes, "Let America Be America Again" (1936)
Keep on keeping on -- that's what one of the brothers tells himself in a crucial part of Spike Lee's new film Da 5 Bloods, now streaming on Netflix. Last year African-Americans commemorated the 400th anniversary of their arrival as slaves in America. At the end of Bloods Lee flashes a snippet of Martin Luther King, Jr's 1967 Riverside Church speech where he reminds the listener that in order "to save the soul of America,"
We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people...but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear.
Lee's five Bloods are a gang chained together by traumatic memories of their hypocritical participation in Nam.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).