Ben Crump story ‘Civil’ premieres at FSU Law and Netflix this Juneteenth
Ben Crump is the only honest-to-goodness Floridian to make Time's most influential list. Image via AP.

Ben Crump
“Even if it’s unpopular, if it's controversial, even if you are criticized for it, you stand for right, and we all know what is right in our heart.”

Tallahassee-based lawyer Ben Crump is already a nationally renown civil rights attorney, and his story goes global when the documentary about him hits Netflix on Sunday, Juneteenth. But Crump is putting his alma mater on the same level as the Tribeca Film Festival and the American Black Film Festival with a third screening of “Civil,” this time at the Florida State University Law School.

Netflix followed Crump for almost 18 months at the height of the pandemic as the lawyer fought for the families of Black men and women, like George Floyd, who died during interactions with police. The film — produced by Kenya Barris and Roger Ross Williams and directed by Nadia Hallgren — will be available to Netflix’s millions of subscribers on Juneteenth.

Crump told Florida Politics it will be just as rewarding to premiere the documentary with law students and the Tallahassee community as it was to premiere it at the film festivals this week.

“The fact that Netflix expects millions and millions of people, not just in America but all around the world, to watch this documentary on Sunday and the fact that I get to be home with my family and my alumnus from Florida State University Law School — which had I not been given the privilege to attend the law school and get my law degree, none of this would be happening — I think it’s very, very gratifying to be in Tallahassee with the law students and the community and have our own premiere of ‘Civil,’” Crump said.

Juneteenth, which some call the Black Independence Day, marks the day the Union Major General Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas, freeing the enslaved Black people in the state. The day has gone on to become a national recognition of emancipation, and the day was declared a federal holiday last year following the national reckoning that took place with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Crump said it was a difficult decision to allow Netflix to follow him over the course of those months, but he stood by his mission to make the world a better place for future generations.

“They all have a right to the American promise of equal opportunity at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even though it was not easy to just be completely exposed, I understood that, as I always say, we have to argue in two courts, one in the court of law and the other the court of public opinion. I understood that, with this opportunity, Netflix was giving me a global bullhorn to speak truth to power,” Crump said.

Relaying a lesson from his personal hero, the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Crump said he hopes to instill in young lawyers that they shouldn’t just argue what is right. They should argue what is right.

“Even if it’s unpopular, if it’s controversial, even if you are criticized for it, you stand for right, and we all know what is right in our heart,” Crump said.

FSU Law will screen “Civil” at 3 p.m., followed by a Q&A at 5 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


6 comments

  • Impeach Biden

    June 19, 2022 at 7:54 am

    If there is a crime that involves a white on black, then Ben Crump will be there. If it’s black on black, he will be missing in action. Kind of like the BLM movement.

    Reply

    • John

      June 19, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      Did you forget White on White crime.What about the white boys and men shooting up schools, concert.January 6. LOL!

      Reply

      • Impeach Biden

        June 19, 2022 at 7:34 pm

        Nope. How many white folks getting shot up in Chicago by fellow white folks? Care to compare with the black violence going on there?

        Reply

  • Lead Poison in Tampa

    June 19, 2022 at 8:58 am

    He fights for the civil rights of all, not just people of color. Never mind the fact that they are the most marginalized group in the nation. Where else in the world can a white person and black person commit the same crime but the black person ends up serving a sentence 3 times the amount of the white person? Do your research before making asinine comments. “Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

    Reply

    • Impeach Biden

      June 19, 2022 at 9:17 am

      Ben Crump goes where the media and money is. Kind of like when Al Sharpton shows up.

      Reply

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