seating 400 persons each. The first phase of the film is shown simultaneously on separate screens in each of the theaters. It tells of America’s exploration and settlement. The second phase, still on separate but large screens, depicts the immigrants, those who came to seek a better world and those who were made to come. It ends with Americans’ first fumbling attempts to fly. In the third and final phase the dividing walls and separate screens disappear into the ceiling with a great roar. The three audiences become one and the screen becomes a massive 37 by 140 feet. The viewer flies through the clouds and then over the city of New York. He is brought back to earth, however, as modern America is revealed with all its problems pollution, mechanization, traffic congestion, and racism. A Negro family is shown moving into a white community as neighbors stare and call their children in from play. From the quiet white suburb, the film cuts to the slums, and to impoverished rural areas where both black and white women clean their families’ clothes on washboards. In an emotional ending, the film juxtaposes shots of an Independence Day parade, a slum, the Washington Memorial, the parade again, and then an angry black mob confronting helmeted policemen. The United States can be great, the film concludes, if it is willing to share its bounty with every element in the society. Auden warns, The judgment waits for you, for our friends in these United States.” AFTER VIEWING the film on HemisFair’s opening day, Mrs. Lyndon Johnson said it needed more pluses, more positive innuendos. “We are awake and busy. We haven’t solved all the problems, but we are working. I thought it was very artistic, very stirring, but it lacked the element that is going on today to provide balancethe element of hope,” the First Lady explained. Edward Clark, commissioner general for the US pavilion, later told Long News Service that the film is under review. “I have been trying to get word to Jack Valenti to get some of his movie people to see what they think of it,” he said. “I presume they wanted to challenge the people of this country. But I don’t think it’s what we should show our foreign visitors,” Clark said. “It shows pollution, and winos laying around in store fronts, and doesn’t show anybody working. … I can drive from here to Straddlefork and see a washing machine on every front porch except the houses where they’ve moved them on the back porch because they got in a telephone.” The San Antonio Express came to the defense of the documentary in an editorial printed April 16. “Only a strong country with confidence in the future can can afford to be introspective,” the Express said. “Only a country that intends to solve its pressing internal problems can discuss its troubles in public. That is the strength of the movie ‘US.’ … Its cameras look at the United States and report what they see. Much of it is good and. some of it is not … It tells it like it is Despite the misgivings of Mrs. Johnson and Commissioner General Clark, the film appears to be at the fair for a long and successful stay. The filmmakers at the Institute of Texan Cultures took a less controversial approach to Texas society. The main effort, done by Gordon Ashby of San Francisco, is shown on rear projection viewing screens on a 80 by 100 foot vaulted ceiling dome in the center of the building. The message is simpleTexas’ diversity of cultures as exemplified by six ethnic ceremonies ranging from a Negro lodge installation to a German festival. The film’s power comes from the projection techniques, the giant screens, and the ceremonies themselves which are shown contrapuntally on opposite sides of the dome, a Mexican rodeo and an Indian dance synchronized by the music of drums and brass. RUMORS HAVE been circulating through HemisFair offices for months that films planned by Gordon Ashby for the Negro exhibit at the Institute were turned down by Gov. John Connally for being “too liberal.” Officials at the institute, deny that Ashby ever was involved with the Negro exhibit. Ashby tells the Observer that the Negro films were removed from his area of responsibility after he had submitted a request to do them. “The rejection may have been political for all we know,” he said. “We wanted to talk about the Negro through his music, his words, his poetry, his normal means of expressing himself. The state felt that something more should be done to deal with the Negro more in terms of his deeds, his contributions in the framework of the evolution of the state. It was not a conflict about the content, but the approach of the films,” Ashby explained. Whatever the reasons for the Negro films being assigned to Texas producers, the three short films hold none of the magic of the multi-screen extravaganzas by Ashby and Thompson. The finished products are dull. One shows endless slides of black children playing with white children and black teenagers studying and working. In the background, an optimistic little ditty reassures viewers, “There’s a new day dawning and it’s bright with promise. There’s a new day breaking and it’s beginning now … It’s great to be young with a challenge ahead . . . You can be anything you want to be.” Another film, entitled “The Origin of Our Music,” shows Negroes including Lightin’ Hopkins and Manse Lipscomb singing work songs, gospel music, blues, and jazz. The third film, narrated by State Sen. Barbara Jordan, recalls some of the outstanding Negroes in Texas history through a conventional documentary format. While the Thompson documentary confronts the problem of racism in America and inspires viewers to rise above it, the Negro films at the institute present a picture of inevitable progress devoid of conflict or of challenge. K.N. Participation, Not Revolution Washington, D. C. My husband and I live in a small row house seven blocks east of the Capitol building on the edge of the great northeast Washington ghetto. While our block is mixed, black and white, we can gaze into the next block across Massachusetts Avenue at what is considered the beginning of the real ghetto. During the recent Washington racial disorder following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the rioting spilled over into our fringe area. We watched from our sidewalk and front windows the pattern and mood of The writer is a native of Fort Worth who grew up principally in DeKalb and Paris. She attended TCU, the University of Texas, and Baylor. the rioters, and the effect of the disorder on our own integrated living area. There are fourteen houses in our block five Negro and nine white including us. The population, however, is about equal since the Negro houses are more densely Pati Griffith populated than the white. Besides the fourteen houses there are a Negro church whose members live elsewhere, a telephone company building, and a High’s dairy store, a sort of Seven-Eleven chain store with long hours and high prices that last summer offered a free “hunky bar” -chocolate-covered vanilla ice creamwith each half gallon carton of milk. Our block in this area called Capitol Hill is reasonably attractive with tall maple and sycamore trees and enough colorfully painted old Victorian houses to largely overshadow the slum houses beside them. The houses are pretty much of a pattern except that some are what we call “restored” \( to their original granrestored,” meaning victims of years of slum abuse and disrepair. There is a lot of poverty here. It is common to see people use government food stamps to buy their groceries and children vie for the chance to carry groceries, rake a yard, shovel snow, or sweep a April 26, 1968 3
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