TEXT ON SCREEN: 1967
ARCHIVAL (C-SPAN, 7-27-67):PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON: My fellow Americans. We have endured a week such as no nation should live through. A time of violence and tragedy.
NARRATION: During the summer of 1967, after years of growing racial tension, black neighborhoods in more than 150 cities erupted in protest, leading in some places to violent clashes with police and widespread destruction.
ARCHIVAL (FILM ARCHIVES, 1967):PETER JENNINGS: Ninety deaths, two thousand injuries, twelve thousand arrests.
NARRATION: In many cities the unrest was sparked when black communities protested against abuse by mostly white police departments. Often police and the National Guard responded with more force.
ARCHIVAL (CBS SPECIAL REPORT):NEWS REPORT: Mass arrests that swept up many innocent bystanders along with the lawbreakers. In the conflict between white authority and black ghetto, old grievances deepened and spread.
ARCHIVAL (CBS SPECIAL REPORT):CARL PARCELL (DETROIT POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION): You cannot fight violent criminals with non-violent methods. We had a war and I think you have to attack a war with warlike weapons and under warlike conditions.
ARCHIVAL (CBS):AMIRI BARAKA (POET AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST, NEWARK): What is responsible for this violence, for this rebellion, is the inability of the city government to feel as human beings the plights of the majority of people in this cityand that is the cause of this violence.
NARRATION: As a result, President Lyndon Johnson formed a national commission, led by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, to study why the uprisings happenedAnd how they might be prevented in the future.
The Kerner Commissions conclusions were stark: it pointed to decades of pent-up frustration in black communities over police brutality, poverty, and the inequality caused by discrimination and segregation. And the commission placed the blame for those inequalities squarely on white AmericansAnd racism.
ARCHIVAL (1968):OTTO KERNER: Our nation is moving toward two societies: one black, one white, separate and unequal. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life. They now threaten the future of every American.
NARRATION: The Kerner Report called for sweeping changes to American society. More economic opportunity in black communities, better housing conditions and more accountability for the police, including steps to stop police abuse, limit stop-and-frisk and build trust between police and communities.
ARCHIVAL (CBS SPECIAL REPORT):NEWS REPORT: The negro ghetto is a mystery to most police except as a source of crime. But the commission suggested that police start looking at it as a place where people live.
NARRATION: It warned that failing to act would lead to more division. And more unrest. The findings captured the publics attention, but Johnson despite his work on civil rights ignored them.
TEXT ON SCREEN: DATE TICKS FROM 1967 TO 1969
ARCHIVAL (CBS, 1-27-69):WALTER CRONKITE: A year after the Kerner Commission report on rioting in America, a private study warned today that the nation has drifted closer to a racially divided society.
TEXT ON SCREEN: DATE TICKS FROM 1969 TO 1988
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 2-29-88):PETER JENNINGS: Twenty years ago today the United States was shocked by a report on racism in America. There have been changes in 20 years, some things are worse.
TEXT ON SCREEN: DATE TICKS FROM 1988 TO 1992
TEXT ON SCREEN: LOS ANGELES
ARCHIVAL (NBC, 1992):NEWS REPORT: Firestorm of uncontrolled riots and violence that is still going on tonight.
ARCHIVAL (CBS, 2-28-93):CONNIE CHUNG: The same conditions that led to the riots of the 1960s also led to the violence and disorder in South Central Los Angeles.
TEXT ON SCREEN: MIAMI
ARCHIVAL (CNN, 5-1-92):NEWS REPORT: Civil disorders and solutions to the causes of the violence were addressed nearly 25 years ago. The findings in the 400-page report could have been written yesterday.
TEXT ON SCREEN: DATE TICKS FROM 1992 TO 2014
ARCHIVAL (FOOTAGE OF POLICE PUTTING ERIC GARNER IN A CHOKE HOLD, NEW YORK CITY, 2014):ONLOOKERS: Damn!
ARCHIVAL (CNN, 2014):NEWS REPORT: Michael Browns body is still in the middle of the street after that 18-year-old was shot by a police officer.
ARCHIVAL (EYEWITNESS NEWS, PHILADELPHIA, 12-2-14):NEWS REPORT: In the wake of violence in Ferguson, President Obama is proposing sweeping changes in to police departments nationwide.
TEXT ON SCREEN: DATE TICKS TO 2015
ARCHIVAL (FOOTAGE OF POLICE ARRESTING FREDDIE GRAY, BALTIMORE, 2015):FREDDIE GRAY: Aaaahh.
ARCHIVAL (KYW EYEWITNESS NEWS, 4-29-15):NEWS REPORT: We cant have Ferguson and Baltimore happening again and again.
TEXT ON SCREEN: DATE TICKS TO 2016
ARCHIVAL (FOOTAGE OF POLICE RESTRAINING ALTON STERLING ON THE GROUND, THEN PULLING OUT A GUN, BATON ROUGE, 2016):POLICE OFFICER: If you [expletive deleted] move, I swear to God.
ARCHIVAL:NEWS REPORT: Two black men were shot and killed by police.
TEXT ON SCREEN: DATE TICKS TO 2018
ARCHIVAL (AL JAZEERA, 3-1-18):NEWS REPORT: An update to the Kerner Report says, by many standards, the rifts in American society have grown worse. Child poverty is up, school segregation has returned to 1968 levels.
TEXT ON SCREEN:2020
ARCHIVAL (FOOTAGE OF POLICE OFFICER PRESSING HIS KNEE ONTO GEORGE FLOYDS NECK, MINNEAPOLIS, 2020):GEORGE FLOYD: I cant breathe. Please the knee in my neck. I cant breathe.
ARCHIVAL (LOS ANGELES):PROTESTERS: I cant breathe! I cant breathe! George Floyd! Say his name! George Floyd!