In Academy Award nominated The Barber of Birmingham, 85 year-old barber and life-long civil rights activist James Armstrong looks back on the early days of the civil rights movement and links those struggles with a previously unimaginable dream -- the election of the first African-American president.
Armstrong was the proud proprietor of Armstrong's Barbershop, a cultural and political hub in Birmingham, Alabama, for more than 50 years. In his small establishment, every inch of wall space was covered with inspirational newspaper clippings and photographs of his heroes, including Martin Luther King, Jr., who had his hair cut by Armstrong.
Armstrong's commitment to civil rights took him to the front lines as one of thousands of average American "foot soldiers" who risked jail sentences and their lives in the fight for racial equality. Armstrong carried the American flag during the epic 1965 march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery, a day that came to be known as Bloody Sunday when police beat the peaceful marchers.
He also participated in and was jailed for other anti-segregation demonstrations. Armstrong filed a ground-breaking lawsuit that lead to his two sons enrolling as the first black students at the previously all-white Graymont Elementary in 1963.
Armstrong lived long enough to witness the 2008 election of the first black president - an event he never believed he'd see in his lifetime, though his activism helped lead to that momentous day.
The Barber of Birmingham tells the larger history and impact of the civil and voting rights movement through James Armstrong's personal journey, supplemented by commentary from other civil rights veterans and vividly illustrated with archival footage of key events in the movement.
Nominated for Academy Award for best Documentary - Short Subject
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