Alas, today (February 29, 2016) is the last day of Black History Month. Since, the “So White” Oscars were held yesterday, we felt that we should close this thing out by offering one of the most profoundly revolutionary films in the history of Black cinema, The Spook Who Sat By The Door.
The Spook Who Sat By The Door movie (made in 1973) is an adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s 1969 novel. The score was done by none other than the great Herbie Hancock. In it, John Freeman becomes the first Black agent in the history of the CIA. This was the result of the agency’s mission to improve its image on the racial front. Freeman outlasted a host of other Black men who were invited to try out. However, Freeman decides to go back to his hometown, Chicago, so that he can be a social worker. Unbeknownst to the powers that be, Freeman was going back to start a revolution. He trains “The Cobras,” a local city gang, with all of the knowledge he acquired during his CIA training. The gang goes on to branch out all over the country. After the cops kill “Shorty,” a young dope dealer in the neighborhood, a riot breaks out. The Freeman’s “Freedom Fighters” use this as an opportunity to wage war on the powers-that-be.
The author, Sam Greenlee, was told by Aubrey Lewis (1935–2001), one of the first Black FBI agents recruited to the Bureau in 1962, that The Spook Who Sat by the Door was required reading at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Greenlee’s spy novel first was published in March 1969; by Allison & Busby in the UK, and by the Richard W. Baron Publishing Company, in the U.S. It was also translated into several languages, including French, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Swedish, and German.
Watch The Spook Who Sat By The Door below and get your mind right as we exit Black History Month.