Austin Peay State University’s Felix G. Woodward Library and APSU’s Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center will host four documentaries on the history of civil rights in America. The films, which will screen at 7 p.m. on Tuesday nights in September in Clement 120, include:
- “The Abolitionists” on Sept. 9.
- “The Loving Story” on Sept. 16.
- “Freedom Riders” on Sept. 23.
- “Slavery by Another Name” on Sept. 30.
The films are part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle initiative. This program uses documentary films to encourage discussions of America’s civil rights history. The NEH has partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop educational and discussion materials for the screenings.
As part of the Endowment’s Bridging Cultures initiative, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” will encourage communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in the U.S. and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American life. Scheduled to launch in 2013 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this program will offer a packaged set of NEH-funded films on Civil Rights history to up to 500 communities across the nation over three years (from 2013 to 2016). Four powerful documentary films (The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders and The Loving Story) will be accompanied by in-depth programming resources to help guide productive community discussions.
APSU will host a series of forums with each film, led by scholars from the Department of History and Philosophy, the Department of Languages and Literature, the Department of Political Science and the African American Studies program.
Deeply grounded in humanities scholarship, these films tell a remarkable story–about the importance of race in the making of American democracy, about the power of individuals to effect change, and about the historical contexts in which Americans have understood and struggled with ideas of freedom, equality, and citizenship.
The documentaries address events from the 1800s through 1965 and several themes resonate among these films: the search for equal rights as defined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the roles of individuals and grassroots groups in bringing about a more just society, and the evolving understanding of democracy and freedom in the history of the United States.
A small group of moral reformers in the 1830s launched one of the most ambitious social movements imaginable: the immediate emancipation of millions of African Americans held in bondage, at a time when slavery was one of the most powerful economic and political forces in the United States. Produced and directed by Rob Rapley. Sharon Grimberg, executive producer for American Experience, WGBH.
APSU is one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. The documentaries include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. “Freedom Riders” received an Emmy in 2012, and “The Loving Story and “The Abolitionists” were nominated for Emmys in 2013.
“These films chronicle the long and sometimes violent effort to achieve the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—for all Americans,” Nancy Gibson, associate professor at APSU, said. “We are pleased to receive a grant from NEH to provide programming around these films to help students realize how the hard-fought freedoms won over the last century should not be forgotten and taken for granted.”
More information on Created Equal is available online at www.neh.gov/created-equal.
About the Films:
The Abolitionists. A small group of moral reformers in the 1830s launched one of the most ambitious social movements imaginable: the immediate emancipation of millions of African Americans held in bondage, at a time when slavery was one of the most powerful economic and political forces in the United States. Produced and directed by Rob Rapley. Sharon Grimberg, executive producer for American Experience, WGBH.
Slavery by Another Name. Even as slavery ended in the south after the Civil War, new forms of forced labor kept thousands of African Americans in bondage until the onset of World War II. Based on the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same title by Douglas Blackmon. Produced and directed by Sam Pollard. Catherine Allan, executive producer for Twin Cities Public Television. Douglas A. Blackmon, co-executive producer. A production of TPT National Productions, in association with Two Dollars & A Dream, Inc.
The Loving Story. The moving account of Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested in 1958 for violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. Their struggle culminated in a landmark Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia (1967) which overturned anti-miscegenation laws in the United States. Directed by Nancy Buirski; produced by Nancy Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James. A co-production of Augusta Films and HBO Films. Distributed by Icarus Films.
Freedom Riders. The Freedom Rides of 1961 were a pivotal moment in the long Civil Rights struggle that redefined America. Based on Raymond Arsenault’s recent book, this documentary film offers an inside look at the brave band of activists who challenged segregation in the Deep South. Produced and directed by Stanley Nelson. Mark Samels, executive producer for American Experience, WGBH.