Posted by Susan Rack on Jan 20, 2021
The Rotary Club of Brookline is screening “Brookline, Facing Civil Rights, a work-in-progress 23-minute documentary film by R. Harvey Bravman, on Tuesday, January 26 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. The Brookline club is starting its monthly evening meeting with this special program in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Bravman (shown, right) works as a a film producer who founded a local non-profit that celebrates achievements of local young people. He's also deeply committed to helping to promote small businesses and to bridge gaps between communities. He builds community through video documentaries spotlighting achievements of young people, and sharing stories of local Holocaust survivors as well as prominent citizens who overcame racism.
Bravman's effort resulted in five hours of video-interview footage, which he compressed into a 22-minute documentary that threads the testimonies of their lived experiences into a compelling narrative, accompanied by photos from that period. Bravman teamed up with his longtime editor and friend, Robert Kirwan, on the project. Kirwan also served as editor for Bravman on "Soul Witness, The Brookline Holocaust Witness Project."
In Bravman's film, six Massachusetts residents describe their experiences during the Civil Rights Movement and what it was like for African-Americans to move into a segregated Brookline during the 1960s. Also interviewed, is former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, a resident of Brookline, who paints an unvarnished picture of Brookline’s racial and religious climate during this turbulent period.

"Brookline, Facing Civil Rights" consists of these six interviews:

  • Ruth Ellen Fitch, Brookline's first METCO director, and the first black female to become a partner in a Boston law firm
  • Bobbie Knable, dean of students at Tufts University from 1980 to 2000
  • Ed and Diana McClure: Ed was a mediator for the U.S. Department of Justice during the Boston busing crisis
  • Julia Wilson, wife of renowned artist John Wilson
  • Mark Gray, general counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs during the Dukakis administration
  • Michael Dukakis, who was also a "housing tester" in Brookline

Testimony from the film takes aim at, among other things, Brookline's discriminatory housing practices, which Dukakis investigated at the time. "Brookline, like the country, was racist," Dukakis (shown, right) says in the film, "People of color had virtually nothing in this town. They didn't live here; they weren't welcomed. I mean this town was just shut off to people of color."

For the Zoom link and login, and for more information on this screening, contact Susan Rack of the Rotary Club of Brookline at