I learned a lot from watching this documentary. The biggest idea that I learned from watching this film is the importance of persistence and action. It started off with four young college guys who wanted a change in the way they were treated and because of their perseverance along with many others, they were able to start an entire movement. During that time many blacks felt that they were being treated unfairly but nothing changed in their favor until people started taking action. In the film the narrator quoted that "Within two months, the sit-ins had spread to 69 cities, from Greensboro to San Antonio, and 2,000 had been arrested. To support the sit-in movement, a national boycott was organized (Aint Scared of Your Jails)." We can apply this same concept with many issues that we have in today's world by speaking up doing something to help the cause. It is one thing to voice your opinion but actually taking action makes the biggest changes.
In the film Ain't Scared of Your Jails, they were able to interview many participants of the various civil rights events. During one interview they spoke with a man named Jim Zwerg who was beat up and hospitalized for being apart of the Freedom Rides. When Mr.Zwerg was in the hospital he stated that, "Segregation must be stopped, it must be broken down.
Those of us who are on the Freedom Ride, we will continue the Freedom
Ride. I'm not sure that I'll be able to, but we're going on to New
Orleans no matter what happens. We're dedicated to this, we'll take
hitting, we'll take beating. We're willing to accept death. But we're
going to keep coming until we can ride from anywhere in the South to any
place else in the South without anybody making any comments, just as
American citizens." This spoke volumes to me because he had already been beaten up but that was not enough to stop him. I love that him and everyone else were so passionate about the issue and they would go as far as they needed to in order to bring justice to all people.
Another thing that I liked about the film is that it captured the many tactics they used to try to obtain social justice. The most creative and thought provoking tactic they used was boycotting downtown stores. During an interview with Leo Lillard, he reminisced about how that idea came about. He explained how "Someone developed the idea of, "Let's stop spending
money downtown." And basically it was like the bus boycott. "Let's
stop supporting the system we're trying to change." The bus boycott in
Nashville, primarily focused on the Nashville downtown stores, the
Nashville retail merchants. We figured that if they would feel the
pinch of not having shoppers buy in the stores downtown Nashville, then
that will put pressure on the mayor, on the political fabric of town, of
Nashville, to change the rules, the regulations (Leo Lilliard)." Needless to say, the store boycott was effective within a month or so. This tactic lead to an economic decline and shoppers were afraid to go downtown because of the picketing, riots, and acts of violence. The civil rights movement is a perfect example of how sometimes things get worse before they get better.