Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools

Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools

Sun, 01/11/2015 - 1:00pm

Pictured: Walter Williams

Credit: Steven DelMonte

Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools, a film written, produced, and directed by Rochester’s Anthony Machi, is a provocative portrait of the iconoclastic black American author, educator and syndicated columnist, whose views on race and economics have made him one of the nation’s most original, provocative and often controversial voices. Fearlessly outspoken, Williams uses economics as an analytical tool to challenge conventional wisdom on everything from affirmative action to the minimum wage, from the value of business licenses to the negative effects of government assistance programs on black families. Produced by Free to Choose Media, Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools premieres on WXXI-TV Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 1 p.m.

Featuring interviews with Williams, family members, authors and scholars, the film grounds Williams’ life story in the history of his times with a wealth of archival footage and photographs. Born in Philadelphia in 1936, Williams grew up in a federally funded housing project. His mother, a part-time domestic worker who never graduated from high school, headed the household, yet, despite these challenges, instilled a profound sense of responsibility and determination in her children.

Drafted into the Army in the 1950s, Williams chafed at having to put his own plans on hold, and was further frustrated by the racial discrimination he experienced daily. Assigned only menial jobs, Williams became a provocateur, openly confronting superior officers and questioning whether African Americans should be expected to fight and die for a country that denied them their constitutional rights.

As a young college student in California in the early 60s, Williams became, in his own words, “a radical” for civil rights — more a supporter of Malcolm X than Martin Luther King, Jr. But his eyes were opened to a more powerful weapon in the struggle for freedom when he read the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, who promoted an understanding of economics as the only way forward for African Americans. Switching his major from sociology to economics, Williams went to UCLA where he learned to “think with my brains instead of my heart.” Transformed into another kind of radical, he speaks truth to power, shattering shibboleths without fear of consequences or public opinion.

Agree or not, Walter Williams is a true American original who challenges us to look at old problems in new ways.

Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools is written, produced and directed by Tony Machi. The Executive Producers are Thomas Skinner and Bob Chitester.



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