You know an injustice hits a nerve when it inspires not only a book but a major motion picture.
Such was the case with the aftermath of the Kelo v. City of New London ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the government could take the entire neighborhood where Susette Kelo and her neighbors lived and hand that land over for a private development project to benefit the nearby Pfizer facility.
Soon after the ruling, New York Times best-selling author Jeff Benedict, who grew up in New London, Connecticut, knocked on Susette Kelo’s door asking if he could tell the story of the fight over her little pink house. Susette, knowing of Benedict and his earlier books, wryly asked, “What took you so long?”
For months thereafter, Benedict conducted hundreds of interviews with people on both sides of the battle for the Fort Trumbull neighborhood—the homeowners, the government attorneys, the head of the New London Development Corporation (which directed the taking of the homes) and the advocates of the Institute for Justice (who fought to defend the homeowners).
The result of Benedict’s exhaustive research was a thought-provoking, at times humorous, at times heartbreaking tale of the public and behind-the-scenes fight over Susette Kelo’s home called, Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage. Publishers Weekly called Benedict’s book, “A page-turner with a conscience.”
Not long after the movie rights for Benedict’s book became available, director/screenwriter Courtney Balaker worked to tell Susette’s story on the silver screen in the movie Little Pink House, starring Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener and Emmy nominee Jeanne Tripplehorn. After its successful theatrical run, IJ and property rights advocates across the nation have since gone on to host dozens of local screenings of Little Pink House, using the movie as a vehicle to inspire and inform local property owners who find themselves under the threat of eminent domain for private gain.