Available mid-January 2022
On December 17th, 1979… after failing to stop for a traffic light, Miami police officers gave chase to Arthur Lee McDuffie, a 33-year-old African American insurance agent and former Marine. When McDuffie surrendered, he was beaten until he lost consciousness.
That beating by four police officers resulted in his death.
After the officers were tried and acquitted on charges including manslaughter and evidence tampering, riots broke out in the black neighborhoods of Overtown and Liberty City on the night of May 17.
Those riots continued until May 20, resulting in 18 additional deaths.
While “When Liberty Burns” highlights the life and death of Arthur L. McDuffie, his story is simply a launching point for a far grander historical examination of the context in which the city of Miami developed during America’s Jim Crow era.
The film traces the dynamics of race relations in the city and uses this analysis as a microcosmic examination of what is happening across the nation… still… today.
By looking at the history of the friction between White and Black America in 1979 Miami through the eyes of those who were there, the viewer is provided with context toward a better understanding of today’s America, an America in which there continues to be an epidemic level of race violence.
Featured in the film are:
- Frederica Watts McDuffie / Widow of the late Arthur Lee McDuffie
- Forestine Reid / McDuffie Family Matriarch
- Elder Shederika McDuffie Johnson / First born of Arthur Lee McDuffie
- Marc McDuffie / Son of Arthur Lee McDuffie, a gospel music Minister.
- Luis McDuffie / Older Brother Of Arthur L. McDuffie
- Gwendolyn Anderson / Childhood friend of Arthur Lee McDuffie
- Perman Anderson / Childhood friend of Arthur Lee McDuffie, retired City of Miami firefighter
- Lonnie Lawrence / Retired Public Information Officer and Former Director of Miami-Dade County Corrections Department
- Linda Saunders / Former Internal Affairs Investigator, Miami-Dade Police Department
- Sam Stubbs / Former Motorcycle officer, City of Miami Police Force
- Marshall Frank / Former Homicide Investigator, Miami-Dade Police Department
- Valeria Bland Thomas / Former Counsel for City of Miami-Dade Police Department
- Floyd Jordan / Retired firefighter, City of Miami
- Willie Logan / former Mayor of the City of Opa-Locka
- Dr. N.D.B Connolly / author of “A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida”
- Dr. Marvin Dunn / Author of several books including “A History of Florida Through Black Eyes”.
- Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs / author of “Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida”
- WINNER: Knight Feature Film Award, Miami Film Festival (2020)
- NOMINATED: Knight Documentary Achievement Award, Best Documentary, Miami Film Festival (2020)
Production Year: 2020 / 111 Minutes / Color / English / 16×9 HD / A film by Dudley Alexis
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