"Black Brass" brilliantly captures the intrigue of city politics, as seen through the eyes of Eddie Cantrell and his young administration. Elected in 1978 as the first African American mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, Eddie Cantrell must survive all of the hope and desires of the black community that elected him and the suspicions of the white community that wants to control him. Through all of the pressures, problems and temptations laid at their feet, Eddie Cantrell and his administration must see if they will fulfill the Civil Rights prophesies or succumb to the pull of power and greed.
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Eddie Cantrell, an African American, rises from poverty to become Mayor of a major American city, Atlanta, GA in 1978. With his charismatic personality, brilliant mind, and impeachable integrity, he wins a close election from the incumbent white Mayor and takes office. The powers-that-be, liberal and conservative, black and white, must contend with this firebrand Mayor who appears to be beyond their reach. Supported by two brilliant young financial minds that he brings to his staff, Eddie uses this billion-dollar municipality to create new opportunities for blacks and change the way business is done in this old southern city. But the white business community does not readily accept this new upstart administration. And the game becomes one of high stakes politics and deal making.
However, as his successes mount, Eddie Cantrell succumbs to the darker influences that surround wealth and power. He begins to associate with supposedly influential and philanthropic people who have no intention of upholding the ideals on which he has built his family, his campaign and his phenomenal rise to success in the political arena. His inexperience opens the door to destructive forces and Eddie jeopardizes everything that he holds dear. The weight and responsibility of true leadership tear into his consciousness. With Eddie Cantrell seemingly down for the count, his enemies believe his downfall is inevitable. But Eddie Cantrell is no quitter and he will not go down without a fight.
“…As leaders, we must be prepared to learn and adjust in the face of all the challenges that come before us. We do not get to choose the problems we will deal with. We must deal with them all. The people have put their trust in us to ensure an environment that keeps their children safe from harm. They trust us…” Eddie paused, as he looked at the words in front of him. And then he looked up from his speech and out before the crowd. “They trust us to make good decisions, to be good stewards. Because when we are not…when we are not, the ramifications of our poor decisions and our lack of responsibility is far-reaching. It would be so easy to close our eyes to the needs of those who cannot speak for themselves. It would be so easy to take money under the table from high-powered business people who have so little concern for the little guy. It would be so easy to say that it will all work itself out in the end. But, it won’t. We, as the leaders of the people, must make the hard decisions. Or the decisions will be made for us. We, as the leaders, must create the right path for all people or everyone will travel down the wrong road. That is our charge. Let us carry out our responsibilities well.”
The audience stood and applauded loudly. But Eddie was concerned with only one person. Phyllis stood and applauded as well, her face still stoic behind the obligatory smile. Eddie could only hope that he could rebuild the trust that he had broken with his own wife.