February 2008 - Film Series
Black History Month
BHM Film Series
All films will be screened in the Center for Multicultural Education lobby. (109 Maucker Union)
Each Volume (two films in each volume) in the series will be played twice each day. Each Volume is approxamately 120 minutes.
Emmett Till… Rosa Parks… Martin Luther King, Jr. In Mississippi, one courageous Black man stands up to racial injustice. In Montgomery, Mrs. Parks and a young Rev. King spark a year-long boycott by thousands to desegregate city buses. To expand this mass movement, Rev. King and other ministers form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Ordinary people play extraordinary roles in the burgeoning movement for civil and human rights.
Little Rock… “Ole Miss”… the 1954 Supreme Court Decision. In the schools of the South battle lines are drawn with unforgettable images: in Little Rock, 9 Black teenagers dare to integrate Central High School, aided by U.S. paratroopers; in Mississippi, James Meredith and NAACP lawyers face mob violence integrating the University of Mississippi. From the schoolhouse to the White House, the confrontation between state and federal governments escalates.
Sit-ins… SNCC… Freedom Rides… CORE. Thousands of young people join the ranks of the movement, giving it new direction. Students across the South organize lunch counter sit-ins and nationwide boycotts, and form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Students and veteran activists are attacked on the Freedom Rides organized by the Congress of Racial Equality to end bus segregation below the Mason-Dixon line. In 1960, President Kennedy’s election is aided by strong Black support.
Georgia… Alabama… the March on Washington. Mass demonstrations become a powerful protest vehicle. In Albany, GA, a police chief wages a sophisticated challenge to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent tactics. In Birmingham, children march and are met by violent fire hoses and snarling dogs. At the University of Alabama, Gov. Wallace challenges President Kennedy over school integration. The triumphant March on Washington brings together 250,000 people, capturing worldwide attention and helping to shift federal policy.
Freedom Summer… Assassinations… Medgar Evers. Mississippi becomes a testing ground of constitutional principles as civil rights activists focus their energies on the right to vote. In 1963, NAACP leader Medgar Evers is silenced by an assassin’s bullet. In Freedom Summer 1964, tensions between White resistance and movement activists climax in the murder of three young civil rights workers. Amidst the horror, the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 is passed and the seeds of political change are planted.
Selma… Montgomery… The Voting Rights Act. National television is by now a major player in the struggle for civil rights. In the spring of 1965, a young civil rights activist is shot and the nation is horrified by TV images of troopers gassing demonstrators on a Selma bridge. From across the nation 25,000 people amass to make the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, helping to ensure the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In the South and the urban North, leaders emerged who helped transform the civil rights movement into a broader struggle for human rights. Their message was direct: “The Time Has Come.”
This urgency was best articulated by Malcolm X, who exhorted African Americans to build a base of power founded on self-respect, self-reliance, and independent Black institutions. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) responded to Malcolm X’s call by launching an independent political party in Alabama, using the symbol of a black panther to counter the existing Democratic Party’s white rooster. Malcolm X’s influence also reverberated in the call for “Black Power,” raised by SNCC chairman Stokely Carmichael during a march through Mississippi.
“Two Societies” reveals the divisions that existed between African Americans and Whites in America’s cities, where African Americans had gained little from the southern freedom movement by the late ‘60s. In Chicago, one of the most segregated cities in the country, we see the southern civil rights movement’s attempt to bring the nonviolent movement north. Dr. King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) led protest marches through White suburbs, where its nonviolent methods were sorely tested.
In Detroit, tensions exploded during the summer of ’67, and more than 100 cities shared the pain of racial violence. A presidential commission warned that American had become “two societies, separate and unequal.”
Solutions to the problems of inequality were as diverse as America itself. Communities mobilized for change in strikingly different ways, but their ultimate goal was the same – power.
In Cleveland, Ohio, Carl Stokes sought power through the ballot box, and became the first Black mayor of a major city. In the streets of Oakland, California, where tensions were high between the community and the police, activists formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to advocate community empowerment and social programs, and to monitor the police. And in Brooklyn, NY, African American and Latino residents elected an interracial governing board to control their children’s education. Their two-year experiment was buffeted by teacher strikes and battles for power, but out of the struggle came an organized community of parent-activists.
The escalating Vietnam War further divided America, and the government’s War on Poverty began to suffer. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke out against the war, facing a firestorm of anger from across the nation. King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) joined others in the movement seeking to expand the struggle for civil rights to include economic equality. SCLC organized a multiracial Poor People’s March to Washington, D.C. to force government response. They also joined a peaceful protest in support of striking Memphis sanitation workers, which was shattered when an assassin’s bullet took King’s life. A hundred cities exploded in riots, and the murder of Robert Kennedy shortly after only added to the darkness. The promised land now seemed more difficult to reach, but the legacy of the 1960’s activism provided a foundation for future action.
Muhammad Ali… Howard University… Gary Indiana… Through these names, African Americans reclaimed their heritage in different ways.
At the pinnacle of his success, the young boxer Cassius Clay announced his conversion to the Muslim faith and became Muhammad Ali. He embodied the spirit of resistance to war in Vietnam by refusing army service, sacrificing his heavyweight title and fighting for his principles up to the Supreme Court. At Howard University, the nation’s premier Black institution, many students felt that the school was too slow in developing courses with an African American perspective. When angry students took over the administration building in protest, a new chapter in Black education began. And at the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, 8,000 African Americans ratified a sweeping agenda, setting the stage for unprecedented Black political participation.
The Black Panther Party… Fred Hampton… Attica… These names equaled controversy in the America of law and order promised by President Nixon. Urban rebellion and campus unrest had brought cycles of protest and reprisals, leaving many wondering if America was in fact “a nation of law.”
For some, the Black Panther Party’s vow of self-defense “by any means necessary” evoked the memory of Malcolm X and overshadowed the Party’s community service activities. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover declared the Panthers the United States’ number one threat to internal security. With the help of an FBI informant, police raided the apartment of Illinois Party chairman Fred Hampton, killing him and another Panther leader. The law and order crackdown also had tragic results at New York’s Attica State Correctional Facility, where state troopers and guards stormed the prison after an inmate rebellion. Thirty-nine people were killed, all by gunfire from government weapons.
Busing… Maynard Jackson… Affirmative Action… From South Boston to Atlanta, Americans sought remedies for the problems of discrimination.
In Boston, the issue was busing. White parents reacted violently to court-ordered busing, and Black parents steeled their children for their role in this next civil rights battle. For both Blacks and Whites, busing proved and unpopular means of integrating schools, but, in the words of one Black parent, “There was no turning back.” Undoing the wrongs of past discrimination proved equally complex in the workplace. Though fifty percent of Atlanta was African American, less than one percent of city contracts were awarded to African American firms. Following his election as Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Maynard Jackson aggressively pursued affirmative action in hiring and awarding city contracts. Even so, Atlanta’s persistently high poverty rate showed the limits of what local government could accomplish. Affirmative action faced its first crucial test in the Supreme Court when a White man sued a university on grounds of “reverse discrimination.”
The powerlessness that was felt in many Black communities in the third decade of the civil rights movement provoked both rage and activism. In Miami’s Overtown section, a young Black salesman died after being beaten by police for a traffic violation, and the officers were acquitted by an all-White jury. Overtown exploded in the worst riot in a decade.
In Chicago, the first female mayor gained great publicity by moving into Cabrini Green, a predominantly Black housing project. But in the eyes of many African Americans, Jane Byrne did little to change the problems of Chicago’s inner city. Despite severe opposition, the Black community mobilized a grassroots campaign to elect U.S. Congressman Harold Washington to serve as Chicago’s first Black mayor. Their success became a symbol of hope and a model for change.
======== February 21st, All Malcolm X Films ========
Filmmaker Spike Lee and actor Denzel Washington join other top talents to bring to the screen the life and times of Malcom X.
This documentary shows dozens of Malcom X speeches, interviews, and a special TV show. You’ll also hear a secret recording of an FBI agent trying to bribe Malcolm and a never before seen confession from Talmadge Hayer, one of Malcolm’s assassins.
The Life of Malcom X – In his own words and those of the people when knew him best.
Traces of Malcolm X’s incredible odyssey: from a Harlem street hustler and self-edifying prison inmate; to a militant Muslim convert; to a self made world leader, who before his mysterious assassination in 1965 found himself increasingly at odds with philosophies of his former Muslim colleagues.
======= Voices of the Civil Rights series=======
Friday, Feb. 15th 11:00am and 2:00pm
Volume 1: Voices of the Civil Rights, Mississippi State Secrets and Crossing the Bridge
Voices of Civil Rights - This collection of personal narratives was created by a group of journalists, photographers, and videographers as they embarked on a 70-day bus trip around the country to create the larges archive of oral histories of the Civil Rights Movement.
Crossing the Bridge - In 1965, a line of civil rights protestors crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama on a march to the capital in Montgomery, Alabama State Troopers blocked their path and the unprovoked brutality that followed shocked a nation.
Monday, Feb. 18th 11:00am and 2:00pm
Volume 2: Biography: Martin Luther King, Jr. The Man and the Dream and Biography: Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All
Biography: MLK, Jr: The Man and the Dream - This one-of-a kind profile uses rare footage and photos to show how king’s ideas and views adapted to the rapidly changing climate of the Civil Rights Movement.
Biography: Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All - As a civil rights lawyer he turned the floor of the Supreme Court into his personal battleground. As a member of the court, he presided over some of the most influential decisions in American history.
======== Other Related Films ========
About the life and times of controversial African-American politician Adam Clayton Powell Jr. The film begins as the aging Powell (Harry J. Lennix) recalls his career to an inquiring reporter. From humble beginnings as a pastor at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church, Powell rises through the ranks to be elected America's second black congressman in 1945. Though reverent and sympathetic to its subject, who is shown battling deeply entrenched racism to bring equality and dignity to his people, the film also sheds light upon Powell's many shortcomings, among them his spotty marital record, his financial shenanigans, his expensive vacations on the public's dime, and his ultimate ouster from Congress.
Tuesday, Feb. 19th 2:00pm and 7:00pm
Say Amen, Somebody
This is a joy-filled celebration of the music created for the sole purpose of uplifting the human spirit. It’s the time-tested remedy of Gospel music and those who perform it, never before captured so infectiously on film.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was perhaps the most inspirational speaker of all times. His words moved a nation with their gripping, passionate plea for racial justice. Follow his electrifying speeches from the early days as a young pastor in Montgomery, to the great march on Washington, including the final prophetic speech in Memphis just days before his tragic assassination.
A documentary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. Exploring the roots of the black peace movement, from the 1955 Bus Boycott in Montgomery to his stirring, “I Have a Dream”, speech at the Washington Monument, to his role in the famous walk from Selma to Montgomery. Contains excerpts from his most famous speeches.
**Please check back for a description of this film.
The autobiography of one o the most powerful black men in American political history. From the time he hypnotized Harlem as a minister of the largest Black congregation in the world, through his rise to Chairman of the House Committee on Education & Labor, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was one of the most charismatic, and controversial figures this country has ever seen.
This special video, narrated by the incomparable James Earl Jones, examines the life and times of the civil rights leader, as well as revealing his enduring legacy. This emotionally charged program is a must see for everyone who has been touched by the words and deeds of Martin Luther King, Jr.
======== Slavery and the Making of America ========
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA presents American slavery as evolving from a loosely defined labor system in which Africans and later African Americans could take matters to court and own property, into the tightly regulated enslavement of individuals based solely on race. The series underscores the integral role slavery played in the growth of this country's Southern and Northern states; the fact that slaves were not a monolithic group but rather, individuals who came from many different cultures and were empowered by their backgrounds to navigate the environment into which they were thrust; and that they sought freedom in many ways, from joining the ranks of the British during the American Revolution to running off to Canada or joining rebel communities. 240 min total 60 min each 4 DVD’s.
Wednesday, Feb. 25th 12:00am and 2:00pm
The Downward Spiral
In 1619, 20 Africans were delivered to the English colony of Virginia. A few years later 11 more Africans were brought by the Dutch who ran the colony of New Amsterdam. Thus began one of the most tragic and misunderstood chapters in American history. Through the lives of Anthony Portuguese, John Punch, Emmanuel Driggus, Frances Driggus, and several others, this hour tells the complicated story of the establishment of slavery in America, the transition from indentured servitude and "half freedom" to African and African-American enslavement for life, the brief but bloody Stono Rebellion of 1739 in South Carolina, and the establishment of the "Black Codes," regulating virtually every aspect of slave life.
Monday, Feb. 26 12:00am and 2:00pm
Freedom is in the Air
From 1740 to 1830, slavery became an indispensable feature of the American economic landscape and spread throughout the colonies, eventually taking deepest root in the new territories of the Deep South, created in 1803 by the Louisiana Purchase. At the same time slavery spread,the enslaved found some inspiration in a diverse group of sources, including the wording of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; the Bibles shared with them as they were "Christianized"; and David Walker's landmark missive Appeal to the Colored People of the World, one of the first expressions of black nationalism and activism. The stories of Jupiter, a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson's family, the revolutionary Colonel Tye, and abolitionist leader Mariah Stewart are also told, among others.
Thursday, Feb. 28 12:00am and 2:00pm
Seeds of Destruction
"Slavery was not a side show in American history," says Dr. James Horton of George Washington University; "It was the main event." Slavery's economic clout transformed the nation in the first half of the 19th century, and with the money came political clout as well. For 50 of the 72 years between the election of George Washington and the election of Abraham Lincoln, a slave-owner occupied the White House. The story of this hour — a story of often unendurable conditions for the enslaved and a widening rift between North and South — is told in part through the lives of Harriet Jacobs, who hid for seven years in a tiny garret before escaping to the North, and Louis Hughes, sold South at the age of eleven.
Friday, Feb 29 12:00am and 2:00pm
The Challenge of Freedom
African Americans played prominent roles in the Civil War, pressed into service on the Confederate side and fighting enthusiastically for their freedom in the uniforms of the Union.But, when freedom came, what did it mean? How were the promises of the Emancipation Proclamation kept or abandoned? This complex story is told in part through the extraordinary life of Robert Smalls, born into slavery, who hijacked a Confederate ship in Charleston Harbor and presented it to the Union Navy, and who went on to serve in the South Carolina legislature and to purchase the house in which his mother had been enslaved.
By focusing on enslaved individuals, the series presents a new and vivid look at the institution of American slavery. The four hours make it clear that slavery was essential to virtually every aspect of the creation of our nation. These programs will change the way your students look at this vitally important aspect of American history. A companion book by Dr. James Horton was published this fall by Oxford University Press.