(Bill Duke, US 1985, 118 min., DCP)
Commemorating the centennial of Chicago’s 1919 race riot
Labor Film Series | Panel Discussion. The film that inspired creation of the Rochester Labor Film Series in 1989, The Killing Floor recounts the true story of efforts to organize an interracial union of Chicago packing house workers during and after World War I. The film explores the tensions between southern black workers lured north by high wartime wages and the ethnic European workers they replace, culminating in the 1919 Chicago race riots. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the 1985 Sundance Film Festival and was selected by the Zinn Education Project as a resource for “Teaching People’s History.”
Following the screening there will be a discussion of issues raised by the film, exploring the link between racial discrimination in the workplace and racial violence in the community. Panelists include Demond Meeks from 1199 SEIU; Shelly D. Clements from the local chapter of Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; and local filmmaker Carvin Eison, who documented Rochester’s race riot (JULY 1964).