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Ben Crump: Helping to Raise the Value of Black Lives in the Eyes of America

People don’t know all that it takes to do what Ben Crump does with fighting on the frontlines daily for the Black community to have a better chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For this reason, Crump was open to sharing aspects of his life in the upcoming Netflix documentary Civil: Ben Crump. Produced by the prolific writer-producer Kenya Barris [Black-ish] Crump’s documentary will open the 26th annual American Black Film Festival before its June 19 premiere on the streaming platform. By inviting such a large audience inside his life, viewers will get a firsthand account of the plight of many Black men and women in America.

Long before the world witnessed Crump’s love for our community, he was just a young Black boy from Lumberton, North Carolina. At just 9 years old, Crump already knew that he wanted to become a lawyer. After observing the horrible condition of the houses, cars, and everything else that made up his neighborhood, and realizing the vast difference from the other side of the tracks where white people lived, Crump questioned this dynamic. It was his mother Helen Crump who told the young Crump that the reason he got to go to the new school with the nice books and technology, was because of the NAACP’s Brown v. Board of Education case and attorney Thurgood Marshall.

“I made a decision right there: When I grow up, I'm going to be a lawyer like Thurgood Marshall, and I'm going to fight every day to help people in my community. I am going to help people who look like me have a better chance at achieving the American dream,” Crump reflects on his decision to become a lawyer.

As he grew up, Crump never wavered, not for money or a high position at a law firm. In fact, after graduating from law school, he turned down multiple offers to stick to his mission. “I believe that we can do good in life and do well. They're not mutually exclusive from one another. Doing good for people and prospering is something that can be a win-win for everybody,” Crump shares.

By focusing on his mission, Crump ignited a movement even before the murder of George Floyd thrust him into the global spotlight. At a past dinner honoring Trayvon Martin, actor and activist Harry Belafonte acknowledged Crump’s movement. Many would contend that civil rights were at the forefront of the ‘60s and ’70s, but that changed in the ‘80s. “You have reignited that fire inside people to go out and say, ‘we fight for him, for the civil rights of our people, our community, our culture,” Crump recalls what the Emmy Award-winning actor told him.

The fire that Belafonte references is present in Civil: Ben Crump. The documentary, directed by Nadia Hallgren, opens with the call Crump received from Floyd’s cousin Tera Brown after his murder. Crump had just watched the video, along with millions of others around the world. “It’s heartbreaking to me not just as a civil rights lawyer, not just as a Black man, but as a human being with humanity,” Crump remarked about watching the video of what he calls the documentary of George Floyd’s death.

Crump has had a front-row seat to the treatment of the Black community by police officers. Representing the families of Martin, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, just to name a few. In Civil, cameras follow Crump over two years. Audiences will see him take on cases all dealing with police accused of murdering Black people. The documentary also shows how Crump leverages his expertise to level the playing field while making it a point to help enhance/bring awareness to the value of Black lives in the eyes of America.

“I am trying to stop these new hashtags from happening,” Crump says referring to Black people who are murdered by police. “I know it probably won't ever be where we can stop the police from killing any Black people or marginalized people, but we are trying to slow down the hashtags. What I try to do is raise the value of Black life, and I continue to try to do that with every case, in every state I go in. I try to break the record because I'm trying to make it financially unsustainable to allow these police officers to keep shooting Black men and women in the back or keep choking them to death. I try to even the playing field in that aspect with these police brutality cases,” Crump explains.

Crump believes the approach of “hitting America in its pockets” will bring about substantive change. “They are not being held accountable. They are not going to jail and because of qualified immunity they do not have to pay out anything,” Crump says about the protections that police officers have. Since there is no disincentive, Crump strategically seeks record-breaking financial compensation so states can now feel the damages caused by police brutality.

In Civil, we see not only a justice warrior but a father, a husband and, a son. Crump isn’t afraid to show his emotions while remaining vigilant for the families he is fighting for. He is a man who strategically humanizes the Black men, women, and children who are victims of police brutality. Crump knows how to use the media to his advantage to deflect the false narratives spread about those who are murdered unjustly.

The Black 9-year-old boy who decided to be a lawyer has stayed his course and continues. His mission to unapologetically defend Black life, Black liberty and Black humanity.

Check out the full interview below.

Check out the trailer for Civil: Ben Crump.

Check out the 2022 Culture Issue.

Photos courtesy of Netflix.


Hanima Ali
Hanima Ali
Jun 22, 2023

Hi Free Games,

In Civil, we witness not only a justice fighter but also a parent, a spouse, and a son in addition to seeing him fight for justice. Crump does not shy away from expressing his feelings, but he does so while maintaining his vigilance for the families he is fighting for.


Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman
Sep 13, 2022

It is now increasingly evident that there are some reprisals against those who seek to assert their rights. But of course, there is also the flip side of the coin, which is civil failure to comply with a legitimate law enforcement demand. It is important that all sides act with restraint and not cross the line. Here I recommend here to look and read the essay on civil failure I hope it was useful. I learned a lot for myself. Good luck and success.

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