The Color of Blood | La Couleur du sang

by Bill Duke

1985 Selection


Feature Film

Chicago 1917, World War I. Many jobs are crea­ted, attracting an important labour force : immi­grants of Polish, German, Irish origins but also black workers from the South.
Frank Custer and his friend Thomas Jessua leave Mississipi to try and escape the poverty and segre­gation which cripple their lives in the South. Frank hopes he’ll soon be able to have his wife and kids join him in « the promised land ». He gets a job in the stockyards. His friend Thomas joins the army. Eventually, Frank gets to know Heavy Wil­liams, a stout and boastful black farm labourer from Western Texas who distrusts white foremen as well as European-born unionists even if they try to open up the Union to the blacks.
Frank breaks away from Heavy Williams and becomes a friend of Bill Bremer, of German origin, who is a shop-steward. Unlike other black wor­kers, Frank Joins the Union.
The post-war crisis will multiply the number of jobless people and turn the stockyards into places of racial tension until in 1919 Chicago witnesses tremendous riots.