Arc of Justice introduces a little-known chapter in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, when the struggle for political rights gave rise to a new strategy for securing the economic rights and economic independence of African Americans in the South. It is an inspirational reminder to the current generation of activists that they stand upon the shoulders of remarkable individuals who grappled courageously and creatively in their own time with many of the same challenges that low-income people and communities of color confront today.
Inspiration was not the producers’ only purpose in making Arc of Justice, however. The film’s running time was intentionally limited to 22 minutes to make it easier to use in community organizing, practitioner trainings, and classroom settings. Arc of Justice was designed to stimulate discussion about political and economic conditions that exist today and to stimulate action aimed at improving those conditions. It was also intended to spark interest in community land trusts, the model of community-led development on community-owned land that was championed by the people who created New Communities Inc.