Full Frame 2018
Black Harvest, SF IndieFest
A longitudinal portrait of a historically Black South Side Chicago neighborhood as it faces destruction.
For generations, Englewood has been home for hundreds of Black families, part of a legacy that stretches back to the Great Migration. Notably, despite decades of inequities and racist policies that have historically limited the ability of many Black people to be homeowners, Englewood has beaten the odds, with half of its families owning their homes. David Schalliol’s film begins in 2012, when the Norfolk Southern railroad company has already begun to decimate Englewood, buying up property to expand its nearby rail yard. Working in concert with local politicians, all too eager to reframe the neighborhood as suffering from urban blight and to erase its long history, Norfolk Southern’s victory is sadly inevitable. Despite this, some local residents refuse to go quietly, demanding to be treated with respect and to be offered fair compensation for their homes. Schalliol follows their righteous, if Sisyphean, struggle – and the sad demise of Englewood – over five years in this sensitively observed profile.