An extremely passionate and moving documentary, William C. Jersey's A Time for Burning explores the civil rights issue from one of the least likely of vantage points--a white, middle-class congregation in Nebraska--and reveals some of the more powerful observations about race and equality to come out of the '60s. Jersey's focal point is the Reverend L. William Youngdahl, who attempts to inspire his parishioners--all white and Lutheran--to reach out and make a connection with black Lutherans in the state. Youngdahl quickly finds himself at the center of a conflict that mirrors the nationwide struggle, with representatives from the church, community, and protest movements speaking for and against his desire to unite those of a common faith. Rejected by all three networks, Burning's unflinching exploration of the state of race relations in the United States and the human heart earned it an Academy Award nomination in 1968, and a place on the National Film Registry in 2005. The DVD includes commentary by and a biography on Jersey, as well as an update on activist Ernie Chambers, who is featured in the film. -- Paul Gaita
This award-winning documentary explores the white, middle-class Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, which in 1966 struggled to reach out to the black community in their city. The congregation was divided between those who wanted to accept social change and those who thought the time was not right to build bridges across racial lines.