Trouble Behind

Director: Robby Henson

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


In today's newspapers we can read about the town of Olifantshoek, South Africa, where a handful of Afrikaners are attempting to establish a "whites only" community by resettling the small black population outside the town. While such an act in the face of the dismantlement of apartheid in South Africa would make most Americans gasp, Robby Henson brings the same issue much closer to home. In his documentary, Trouble Behind Henson examines the history of the town of Corbin, Kentucky. A small railroad community, Corbin is best known as the home of Colonel Sanders's Kentucky Fried Chicken. But. Henson points out, Corbin is also noteworthy for its race riots of 1919, in which over two hundred blacks were loaded into boxcars and shipped out of town, Today Corbin has only one black citizen, despite a significant black population in the surrounding communities. Trouble Behind is a startling account of the legacy of racism in Corbin, stemming from these events seventy years ago and passed down from one generation to the next.

A portrait of America's clandestine racism emerges from the several interviews with the town's citizens and business leaders. Henson combines these interviews with archival footage, photos, and newspaper clippings. The entire story achieves a broader social context through his inclusion of comments from a historian, the Kentucky representative of Amnesty International, a young black athlete, and a playwright, all of whom describe the multiple facets of racism and the toll it takes. An intelligent personal crusade, Trouble Behind confronts the awful truth about the stubbornness of racism.

— Alberto Garcia

Screening Details


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