Michel Martin, NPR “Tell Me More” Host – 200 Years After: Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Abolition of Slavery

October 9, 2008 at 10:56 am (African Americans in RI, Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slav, Freedom Festival)

Michel Martin talking with Mary-Kim Arnold

Michel Martin, host of NPR’s “Tell Me More” came to the Providence Black Repertory Theatre, on Monday, October 6th to tape her show “200 Years After: Commemorating the Bicentennial of the Abolition of Slavery,” part of the Freedom Festival series, and a fund-raiser for the newly independent R.I. NPR station WRNI.  Panelists included Mary-Kim Arnold, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, whose initiative “On the Road to Freedom: African American Heritage in RI” the Freedom Festival is part of; Katrina Browne, the writer, director, and filmmaker of Traces of the Trade: a Story of the Deep North, a documentary about her family’s involvement in the slave trade; Dr. James Campbell, Africana Studies at Brown, and now at Stanford University, whose research focuses on African American history and on the wider history of the Black Atlantic, and whose recent book Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History; and the Reverend Jeffery A. Williams, founder and head pastor of the Cathedral of Life Christian Assembly in Providence.

“Tell Me More” taping                                     Mary-Kim Arnold, Rev. Williams, Katrina Browne

WRNI held a reception at 6:30 and everyone had an opportunity to chat and get to know each other.  The taping began at 7:30 and was absolutely riveting.  Michel Martin has a true gift, in which she combines a tremendous sense of humor, with critical thinking, and the abililty to put her guests at ease and make REAL conversation flow.  Marc Fisher writes, “Michel Martin has a keen ear, a taste for good stories, and a knack for asking tough questions” – so true!  Audience members felt honored to witness the process, and to be involved in a question/answer period  – the conversation went on for at least 90 minutes, the final show (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95465836 ) was edited down to 17 minutes.  Each panelist brought such relevant input to this large question of how the legacies of slavery in America continue to affect contemporary society and how, until we come to grips with that legacy it is tough to move on to a broader and more inclusive world view.

Marie Nelson, Executive Producer “Tell Me More” and Reza Clifton of RezaRites.com


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“A Thousand Ships”; Ray Rickman; Cape Verde Museum opening

October 6, 2008 at 3:51 pm (A Thousand Ships, African Americans in RI, Freedom Festival)

FREEDOM FESTIVAL is launched!

Saturday, October 4th, a quintessential New England Fall day, was my BUSY BUSY BUSIEST day – I began at 11 am listening to Ray Rickman hold forth at the Roger Williams National Memorial (U.S. Park Service) site on “How Providence Became a City: the Impact of the HardScrabble and Snowtown Riots of 1824 and 1831” – an insightful look of how history continues to have resonance in our contemporary lives, and how important it is to remember and retell these stories.

Ranger Chuck Arning, Risa Gilpin, Ranger Sparkle Bryant, Ray Rickman at Roger Williams National Memorial, Prov., RI

Then it was off to the Cape Verde Museum, 1003 Waterman Ave., East Providence, RI for the opening of their “Slavery and the Cape Verde Islands”  – the three curators who were there (Yvonne Smart, Denise Oliveira, and Virginia Gonsalves) enthusiastically showed me around – this is a little known museum site, housed in a row of commercial spaces and well worth a journey – their collection of maps and artifacts is enlightening…

Yvonne Smart, Denise Oliveira, Virginia Gonsalves at the Cape Verde Museum

And then, at 2 pm, I came back to Providence to participate in WaterFire’s “A Thousand Ships” event – a ritual of remembrance marking the bicentennial of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade – an installation by Barnaby Evans and the Museum On Site (Lyra Monteiro and Andrew Losowsky’s site – www.themuseumonline.com

Andrew Losowsky, Barnaby Evans, Mary Tinti, and Lyra Monteiro – the movers and shakers behind “A Thousand Ships” – discussing final details.

Events included:

6:15 pm – A Thousand Ships, A Thousand Libations – pouring 1,000 bottles of water into the river as a libation ritual, in the lights of the burning braziers at Waterplace Basin – each bottle represented a slaveship voyage that left from Rhode Island.

7:00 pm – Remembrance and witness – a torchlit procession traveling to significant downtown sites to bear witness to Providence’s relationship with the slave trade and connected industries.  African drumming and dancing by New Works, led by Michelle Bach-Coulibaly.

8:00 pm – Triangle of trees/Triangle Trade – Paper chains suspended from trees in a triangular configuration, representing the “triangle trade” between R.I., the west coast of Africa, and the Caribbean, were burned and then replaced by luminaria in memory of the victims of the slave trade. Singing by The RPM Voice of RI, Clarice Thompson, Director.

8:30 pm – Actors bring voice to the institution of slavery by delivering pieces collected from the RI Historical Society, the RI State Archives, the John Carter Brown Library, the Bristol Historical Society, and from the poetic works of Kalyana Champlain and Nehessaiu deGannes.

What an incredible day – never to be forgotten!  The relevance and the power of public arts and humanities work was exemplified by these events – planting the seeds for further exploration of the legacies of the slave trade and of the many significant contributions of African Americans to our state and to our nation.

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Freedom Festival begins – Saturday, October 4th

October 1, 2008 at 4:34 pm (A Thousand Ships, African Americans in RI, Freedom Festival)

“It is necessary to stay on the march, to be on the journey, to work for peace wherever we are at all times, because the liberty we cherish, which we would share with the world, demands eternal vigilance.  And democracy is no easy path, but those of us who believe in it must be prepared to sacrifice in its cause more willingly than those who are prepared to die in the wars of aggression.  We, too, must be dedicated to the cause of freedom.”  Ossie Davis

Please check the calendar on our website www.rihumanities.org for the MANY events scheduled throughout the month of October, associated with FREEDOM FESTIVAL – commemorating the bicentennial of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade AND celebrating African American Heritage in Rhode Island.

Calling out the following:

Ray Rickman presents “How Providence Became a City: the Impact of the HardScrabble and Snowtown Race Riots of 1824 and 1830” at the Roger Williams Memorial, 282 North Main Street, Providence, from 11:00 am-1:00 pm.

The opening of the exhibit “Slavery and the Cape Verde Islands” at the Cape Verdean Museum, 1003 Waterman Avenue, East Providence, RI, from noon-4 pm.

Due to the deluge last Saturday, WaterFire has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday, October 4 at dusk.  “A Thousand Ships” presentations will be taking place throughout the evening.  Then, there’s a symposium related to “A Thousand Ships” (approximate # of slave ships sailing from Rhode Island ports in the 18th and 19th centuries) at the John Nicholas Brown Center, 357 Benefit Street, on Sunday, October 5th at noon.

Here’s a pdf of the flyer for Freedom Festival – for more information contact me, Risa Gilpin, at risa@rihumanities.org or call 401-273-2250 –

ortffrontfin2

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Heritage Festival, September 20, Providence

September 26, 2008 at 2:44 pm (Freedom Festival, Heritage Days)

“We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions – bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality.  Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (1933-1945)

Last Saturday, September 20, 2008, the R.I. Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission  hosted the 31st annual Heritage Day Festival on the State House lawn.  It was a spectacular fall day and I was there, sharing a table with the Heritage Harbor Museum (thanks!), distributing our Freedom Festival flyers…

Many folks stopped by to chat, find out more about the series that both commemorates the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, and also celebrates African American heritage.  I brought the fascinating books of keynote speakers, Paula J. Giddings (speaking at the Great Friends Meeting Hall (NOTE: this is a change from the original Colony House venue) in Newport, RI, on October 9th at 7:30) and Ira Berlin (speaking at the First Unitarian Church in Providence, RI, on October 16th at 8:00 pm).  I also was delighted at the wonderful variety of participants – an amazing Panamanian marching band, Chinese dragon dancers, Thai, Bolivian, India, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Korean, Irish, and many other representatives from our diverse communities. We are indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to share our cultures and traditions with each other.

PLEASE NOTE:  Our opening WaterFire “Thousand Ships” event has been postponed until NEXT Saturday, October 4th, due to the current deluge…see you on the 4th!

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WATERFIRE, September 27th – A Thousand Ships

September 15, 2008 at 4:21 pm (A Thousand Ships, African Americans in RI, Freedom Festival)

The official opening event, kicking off our month-long, statewide FREEDOM FESTIVAL, part of the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities On the Road to Freedom: African American Heritage in Rhode Island initiative, is a very special ritual of remembrance at WaterFire, the amazing art installation by Barnaby Evans, with help from The Museum on Site, and marking the bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

At sunset on September 27th, four small boats travel up the river from the historic Providence harbor on the edge of the Atlantic.  Tens of thousands of people are gathered at WaterFire but many may not know the full history of the water by which they stand.

This is a night of remembrance – an occasion to commemorate the bicentennial of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, but also a night to acknowledge and mark Rhode Island’s century-long inivolvement with this trade.  Merchants from Rhode Island mounted more than a thousand slaveship voyages on these waters, carrying over 100,000 Africans into New World slavery.  One of these ships was called the Providence, and more slaveship voyages sailed from Rhode Island’s harbors than from any other state.

A Thousand Ships is a night for contemplation and recognition – a ritual observance acknowledging the state’s historic involvement with human bondage.  A night filled with music and silence, dance and stillness, fire and water.  Echoing a traditional African ritual, a thousand people will join together to offer a libation to the ancestors by pouring into the river and onto the ground a thousand vessels of water, each representing a slave voyage from Rhode Island.  Actors will walk through the crowds giving voice to historic figures from Rhode Island, sharing their stories of freedom and bondage and the struggle to abolish slavery and the slave trade.  Torches will be lit, the infamous triangle trade will be demarcated, chains will be burned and broken, and our entire community will gather together to remember, honor, watch, listen and feel.

This event at WaterFire is dedicated to the memory and work of the late Professor Rhett S. Jones and a formal West African libation ceremony in honor of Professor Jones will be poured by Professor Anani Dzidzienyo of the Brown University Department of Africana Studies.

A Thousand Ships will be a time for remembering, and a night to remember.  We cannot allow ourselves to forget.

To make it happen, we are going to need lots of volunteers. Please e-mail Lyra Monteiro at lyra@TheMuseumOnline.com or call 401-261-3441 if you are interested in participating.  Slots available are from 2-6 pm and 6-10 pm.  Thanks for helping to make this all possible!

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September at the RI Council for the Humanities

September 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm (Freedom Festival)

Risa and SueEllen – “the Providence Sisters” – Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana

As always, my favorite season (summer) has sped by – and September, with its inherent call to action, is upon us.  I had a memorable time in July, visiting Montana (for our annual National Humanities Program Officers Conference – a gathering of folks across the nation and U.S. territories, coming together to discuss the value of our important work focused on human thought and action) where my colleague SueEllen Kroll and I unveiled our ambitious “On the Road to Freedom: African American Heritage in RI” (otrtf) initiative.  SueEllen is our Grants director, and as our annual deadline for letters-of-intent (to apply for a major grant) passed on September 1st, she was pleased to see a general increase in the number of grants received AND an astonishing 18 submitted for consideration for our otrtf project.

Our networking is WORKING – hooray.

The Council-conducted program side of things (my bailiwick) is forging ahead, full-steam – we are looking forward to the upcoming “Freedom Festival” (see attached pdf and be sure to check out our new website, after September 15th, for FULL information on the festival – http://www.rihumanities.org).

Let the good times roll!

Freedom Festival flyer

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Pondering Freedom – July 4th…

July 4, 2008 at 12:01 pm (Freedom Festival)

rod, reza, chuck
Rod Echols, Reza Clifton, Chuck Arning
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! Our amazing team is delighted to be moving along with our Freedom Festival programming for October 2008, commemorating the bicentennial of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and African American Heritage…
it looks like this to date:
October 6 Michel Martin, “Tell Me More” at Providence Black Rep
October 7-12 The Frederick Douglass Project – Mixed Magic Theatre
October 9 Paula J. Giddings, keynote “Land of the Pilgrim’s Pride: Ida
B. Wells and the Northern Campaign Against Lynching”
Old Colony House, Newport
October 10 Curator’s Salon The Cotton Exhibit, Slater Mill, Pawtucket
October 11 African Americans in RI – Westerly Public Library
October 12 Festival in Newport (tba) – Jane Pickens Theatre
October 13 Family Festival, African American Heritage – Cathedral of
Life Assembly, Providence
October 14 Screening Oscar Michaeux “Within Our Gates” – PPL
October 15 Action Speaks on Oscar Michaaeux – AS220, Providence
October 16 Ira Berlin, keynote – First Unitarian Church, Providence
October 17 Ray Rickman, “Lydia Maria Child – Abolitionist and First
Woman of the Republic” – Providence Athenaeum
October 18/19 Door of No Return play – Gamm Theatre, Pawtucket
October 20 Celebration of the Humanities – tba
We’ve been meeting and gathering folks all excited about the many opportunities heading our way…
Bernadet Pitts-Wiley and Linda A\'Vant-Deishinni
Bernadet Pitts-Wiley and Linda A’Vant Deishinni
“O Freedom, O Freedom, O Freedom Over Me,
and Before I’ll be a Slave, I’ll Be Buried in My Grave
and Go Home to My Lord and Be Free”

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Neglected – Boston Globe article, etc.

June 24, 2008 at 4:34 pm (African Americans in RI, Freedom Festival)

so, hello everyone, finally a blog entry that looks like a blog entry (what do I know???) – i.e. the more personalized version of communication. I’ve uploaded lots of lists and reference tools and all sorts of materials and thoughts, and will continue to do so, but thought it might be refreshing just to say HELLO to anyone landing here for the first time. I’ll also try to intersperse quick quirky updates along with the more serious material.

We’re really excited about this new programming initiative “On the Road to Freedom: African American Heritage in Rhode Island” and are daily reminded how important this work really is. As we collect these “neglected” or sometimes “hidden” stories, we look forward to sharing them with you. We are convening groups statewide who are participating in the upcoming “Freedom Festival” taking place between October 9-October 20th – more on that soon. Just to tease you, keynote speakers Paula J. Giddings and Ira Berlin will both participate. There will be a Family Festival at the Cathedral of Life Assembly in Olneyville in Providence; several film screenings (Oscar Michaeux) and gospel concerts in Newport, and Providence; salons about free black life, taking place in Pawtucket, Providence and Westerly…details momentarily!

Slavery and its legacies are just part of this story. In today’s Boston Globe, Vanessa E. Jones writes a compelling article entitled “Neglected – Some say New Englanders are ignoring the commemoration of slavery’s end.” Check it out http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/articles/2008/06/24/neglected/?s_campaign=8315

loads of Rhode Island references.

did I say short and sweet (or did I just think it?) – well therefore I’ll say farewell until next time…

ta,

Risa

Ted Widmer, Director of the John Carter Brown Library (Brown U.) and Risa at the Frederick Douglass Book Prize ceremony, Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale Club NYC. This years prizewinner was Christopher Leslie Brown for his book “Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism.”

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Historic Calendar of Events in RI, related to African American Heritage

June 16, 2008 at 3:21 pm (African Americans in RI, Research)

January 3, 1859 James Howland, the last slave in Rhode Island, dies in Jamestown.
January 9, 1901 Edward M. Bannister, well-known painter and philanthropist, dies in Providence.

January 12, 1914 First meeting of the Providence Branch NAACP, with Dr. Julius Robinson as the first President and Roberta J. Dunbar as Secretary.

January 14, 1790 African Union Society meets in Newport to prescribe burial procedures for Blacks.

January 18, 1867 A circular entitled “Famine at Home” read to the Freedman’s Aid Society in East Greenwich.

January 26, 1866 Mrs. Josephine Griffing, of East Greenwich, commended by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen & Abandoned Lands.
January 28, 1849 Benjamin Burton of Newport goes to California to seek his fortune in the Gold Rush.

January 29, 1789 First meeting of the Providence Abolitionist Society.

February 1, 1836 Anti-Slavery Convention held in Providence.
February 2, 1778 The RI General Assembly passes legislation to raise a troop of Black Soldiers.
February 7, 1860 African Union Church established in Providence.
February 13, 1784 RI Assembly legislates that all children of slaves born after March 1 shall be born free.
February 19, 1672 A black servant to Samuel Reep complains to officials of Providence about his mistreatment at the home of Mr. Reep.
February 20, 1936 John Hope, President of Atlanta University and 1894 graduate of Brown University, dies.
February 23, 1784 RI General Assembly passes Negro Emancipation Act.
February 24, 1869 Shiloh Baptist Church in Newport first used for church purposes.

March 1, 1784 RI General Assembly passes law that henceforth, all Negroes born of slaves should be freed at the age of 21 for males and 18 for females.
March 3, 1744 Primus, a mulatto, and widow Hannah Toby, a Native American woman, both of South Kingstown, are married.
March 7, 1886 RI General Assembly passes school integration act.
March 9, 1819 African Meeting House opens in Providence.
March 10, 1808 African Benevolent Society opens the first African free school in America in Newport.
March 19, 1708 There are 426 blacks in Rhode Island, with 220 of this number residing in Newport.
March 22, 1746 James Hazard, a mulatto, and Sarah Sam, a Native American woman, marry in South Kingstown.
March 23, 1881 RI General Assembly recognizes marriages between blacks and whites.

March 26, 1848 In the first of several such acts, the RI General Assembly passes a fugitive slave law prohibiting assisting runaway slaves.

April 3, 1976 RI Black Historical Society’s first annual Edward M. Bannister Forum
April 12, 1810 Free African Colonization Society organized in Newport.
April 14, 1832 Eleanor Elldredge of Providence goes to court and successfully defends her brother against charges of assault.
April 18, 1788 William Dyre of South Kingstown files his will manumitting his Negro servant, Prince.
April 24, 1910 Rev. M.A. Van Horne, Pastor of Union Congregational Church in Newport for 29 years, dies in Antigua.

May 4, 1861 Moses Brown deeds his lot to build a meetinghouse at Congdon and Angell Streets in Providence.
May 5, 1885 Daniel Harry dies in Wakefield.
May 10, 1864 First Black Shiloh Church organized in Newport.
May 21, 1803 The “India Point” leaves Providence for Liverpool, England, with three Blacks in the crew.
May 22, 1885 The Narragansett Times carries story on burial of Daniel Harry in Peacedale.
May 24, 1918 The Narragansett Times reports Frederick Olney’s death.

June 1, 1874 Union A.M.E. Church organized in Providence.

June 5, 1880 The Providence Art Club founded in studio of Edward Bannister, famed landscape artist.

June 7, 1759 Silas Casey of East Greenwich and Abigail Coggeshall of North Kingstown marry.
June 10, 1772 Aaron Briggs participates in burning of British schooner “Gaspee” off Pawtuxet.

June 11, 1731 Phillip, Anthony, and Agnes Berkley are baptized by Henry Berkeley, son of the Bishop and philosopher of Whitehall, and are received into Trinity Church,

July 3, 1790 The Brown Fellowship Society was founded by “free Brown men” to give aid and comfort to one another in times of need.
July 9, 17777 Jack Sisson participates in capture of British General Prescott in Portsmouth.
July 10, 1891 Ruth E. Occomy, nurse and missionary, is born in Providence.
July 16, 1862 Frederick C. Olney, criminal lawyer, born in Wakefield.

July 21, 1903 George Downing, who donated land to the City of Newport, dies.

July 24, 1935 Charles Battle, author of Negroes on Aquidneck Island, dies.
July 28, 1778 The newly recruited RI Black Regiment is sent to General Sullivan’s army in Providence for its first missions.
July 29, 1765 The Nicholas Brown Co. sent the ship “Sally” to Africa; 109 of the 167 Africans died on the return voyage to RI. http://www.projo.com/extra/2006/slavery/day4/

August 3, 1805 Daniel Rodman born in Wakefield.
August 8, 1864 The RI Association of freedmen formed. http://www.rihs.org/mssinv/Mss664.htm

August 12, 1776 Caesar Lyndon’s picnic in Portsmouth. http://www.projo.com/extra/2006/slavery/text/day3.htm
August 17, 1906 Oliver Burton, Newport civic leader, policeman, and businessman, born.
August 23, 1772 Mingo, a Negro belonging to Col. Silas Niles, and Dinah, a Negro belonging to Jeremiah Niles, Esq., marry in South Kingstown.
August 30, 1835 The Free Will Church splits from the African Union Meeting House in Providence an erects a church on Pond Street.
August 31, 1821 African Union Meeting House opens in Providence on Meeting and Congdon Streets.

September 2, 1787 Dr. Will Thornton of the West Indies African Union Society arrives in Providence.

September 3, 1887 Rev. Van Horne speaks at dedication of Lenthal School in Newport.

September 3, 1912 Josephine Silone Yates, first Black graduate of Rogers High School, Newport, dies.

September 6, 1750 RI General Assembly passes law that any White householder who allowed a slave to engage in “dancing, gaming, or any other diversions whatsoever” was subject to a fine of 50 pounds or 1 month in jail.
September 7, 1839 First Public School for Blacks opened in Providence.
September 7, 1861 London Weeden dies in South County.
September 10, 1839 The Underground Railroad is set up in Newport and Providence.
September 14, 1977 Bethel A.M.E. Church burns in Providence.
September 15, 1940 James N. Williams becomes Executive Secretary of newly established Providence Urban League.
September 16, 1793 William Robinson of Portsmouth is named Executor in the estate of Quoco Robinson, a Black man, in South Kingstown.
September 21, 1831 Snowtown riot at foot of Olney Street in Providence.

October 1, 1868 Rev. M.A. Van Horne, pastor of Union Congregational Church, arrives in Newport.
October 3, 1835 George McCarthy sold several Meeting Street lots to local Providence citizens.
October 5, 1827 Harmony Lodge formed in Providence.

October 6, 1776 Caesar Lyndon marries Sarah Searing.
October 6, 1885 Benjamin Burton, early Black businessman in Newport, dies.
October 8, 1841 Blacks petition in RI for right to vote at People’s Convention.
October 8, 1894 Mt. Olivet Baptist Church organized in Newport.
October 11, 1839 Two-thirds of Blacks in Providence live in their own homes.
October 12, 1856 Thomas Howland becomes the first Black wardsman from Providence.
October 17, 1736 William Enos and Sarah Lad marry in South Kingstown.
October 18, 1824 “Hardscrabble Riots” racial riots in Providence. http://thephoenix.com/Providence/News/13888-Memorializing-the-1824-Hardscrabble-race-riot-take/?rel=inf
October 20, 1841 George Fayerweather dies in Kingston.
October 21, 1841 Blacks owned grocery stores, candy stores, shoe repair shops and clothing stores in Rhode Island.
October 22, 1792 Isaac Rice, who landscaped Touro Park in Newport and used his home in Newport as a station on the Underground Railroad, born in Narragansett.
October 24, 1899 Emma Elmira, a Black, marries Henry van Tassel, a White, in Newport.
October 26, 1763 Rev. Marmaduke Brown, rector of Trinity Church, opens a school for colored children in Newport.
October 27, 1887 Rev. Van Horne states that three-fourths of the Black population in Newport are small property owners.
October 28, 1779 RI Legislature passes an Act prohibiting the sale of slaves outside the state against the will of the slave, “unless he proves to be a person of bad character.”
October 29, 1865 Freedmen’s Aid Society is organized in Greenwich.

November 1, 1868 Rev. Van Horne becomes pastor of Union Congregational Church, Newport.
November 10, 1780 African Union Society, first organization of free Blacks in America, founded in Newport.
November 10, 1975 Rhode Island Black Heritage Society receives its own charter.
November 23, 1842 Town Act for “Colored Suffrage” in Middletown, RI.
November 27, 1842 The Dorr Rebellion resulted in the Legal Party pushing through a new constitution that gave Blacks in RI voting privileges.

December 6, 1805 Sloop Juliet sets sail from Newport to Africa with complement of Black crewmen.
December 8, 1840 Meeting Street Church is established in Providence.
December 9, 1781 RI’s General Nathanael Greene tells the Governor of South Carolina that slave enlistments are necessary to protect that state’s territory.

December 11, 1755 There are 1,234 Blacks in Newport; one in three persons in Washington County is black; there are 418 Blacks to 712 Whites in Charlestown, RI.
December 17, 1843 Frederick Douglass speaks at the Little Compton Abolitionist Society.

December 21, 1807 A number of colored people meet at the home of Abraham Casey on Levin Street in Newport to discuss the plans of the African Union Society.
December 28, 1976 Grace Anderson Gibbs of Providence celebrates her 105th birthday.

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Film List – What has Risa been watching?

June 9, 2008 at 3:38 pm (Uncategorized)

Films (in alphabetical order) that Risa has watched related to “On the Road to Freedom” – most are available through the CLAN Library system –

Risa’s own quirky rating system:

***** DON”T MISS

**** Excellent

*** Good, worthwhile

** Okay

* Don’t bother

African American Lives I and II, 2006, 2008

****
I: Using genealogy, oral history, family stories and DNA analysis to trace lineage through American history and back to Africa, the series provides a life-changing journey for a diverse group of highly accomplished African Americans.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/aalives/2006/about.html
II: African American Lives 2 again journeys deep into ancestry of an all-new group of remarkable individuals, offering an in-depth look at the African-American experience and race relations throughout U.S. history.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/aalives/about.html

Africans in America – America’s Journey Through Slavery, 1998

***
This television series examines the historical roots of some of today’s most disturbing social problems by asking tough questions: How did America build a new nation based on principles of liberty and equality while justifying the existence of slavery? Did American slavery and American freedom have to exist side by side in the nation? How has this history shaped current views about race?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/tvandbeyond/tvbeyonddescr.html

Amazing Grace, 2007

*****
The film is based on the life of antislavery pioneer William Wilberforce, who navigated the world of 18th Century backroom politics to end the slave trade in the British Empire.
http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/the_film.php

America’s Dream, 1996

***
Adaptation of three short stories by black writers: Long Black Song by Maya Angelou, The Boy Who Painted Christ Black by Richard Wright and Reunion by John Henrik Clarke.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=458010

American Experience – Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind

***
Marcus Garvey is the dramatic story of the rise and fall of a controversial African American leader who influenced politics and culture around the world.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/garvey/filmmore/index.html

American Experience – Murder of Emmett Till, 2003

****
Emmet Till is the story of the brutal murder of a fourteen-year-old black boy unschooled in the racial customs of the South by two white men. Taking place in 1955, the film exposes the murder and trial that helped mobilize the civil rights movement.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till/filmmore/index.html

American Experience – Scottsboro: an American Tragedy,

***
The tale of Scottsboro tells the story of nine black teens falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931. The conflict would draw North and South into their sharpest clash since the Civil War, yield two momentous Supreme Court decisions and give birth to the Civil Rights Movement.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/scottsboro/filmmore/index.html

Amistad, 1997

****
Amistad is about an 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship that is traveling towards the Northeast Coast of America. Much of the story involves a courtroom drama about the free man who led the revolt.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118607/

And the Children Shall Lead, 1985

***
In 1964 segregation is a reality in Catesville, Mississippi, but 12-year-old Rachel doesn’t notice it because she has many white friends. When a group of civil rights activists comes to town, the tension between black and white citizens grows. It’s now up to Rachel and her friends to persuade the adults to overcome the racial barriers that divide them.
http://www.amazon.com/Children-Shall-Lead-Danny-Glover/dp/B0000D0YWA

Bamboozled, 2000

****
A frustrated African American TV writer proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0215545/

Band of Angels, 1957

***
When Amantha’s wealthy father dies, she finds out two hidden truths about her life: her family is deep in debt, and she has some African-American blood in her veins. She is forced to drop out of the exclusive girls’ school she was attending, and faces the prospect of being sold into slavery in New Orleans.
http://www.tv.msn.com/movies/movie.aspx?m=128731

Black and White, 1991

***
In this film, a young female immigrant leaves an abusive relationship with her boyfriend only to be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous landlord who uses her as a prostitute when she is unable to come up with the rent money.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/172613/Black-and-White/overview

Black Indians: an American Story, 2000

***
Black Indians from many walks of life (including workers, scholars, and artists) discuss the search for, and expression of, their unique identity — and the racial tensions and stereotyping they have encountered in their lives.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/225906/Black-Indians-An-American-Story/overview

Boycott, 2001

****
Boycott recounts the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1106147-boycott/

Brother John, 1970

***
In this film, Brother John makes it his mission to purge a small Alabama town of all hatred and prejudice. Trouble is, he’s black, and it’s Alabama-so who’s going to pay attention?
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/7247/Brother-John/overview

Brother to Brother, 2004

***
Brother to Brother is a feature length narrative film that follows the emotional and psychological journey of a young Black gay artist as he discovers the hidden legacies of the gay and lesbian subcultures within the Harlem Renaissance.
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/brother_to_brother/

Brown Sugar, 2002

**
This romantic comedy, described as an African-American When Harry Met Sally, centers on a romance between an exec at a hip-hop label, Dre, and a magazine editor, Sidney, who have known each other since childhood.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0297037/

Buffalo Soldiers, 1997

***
Buffalo Soldiers is a historical account of the all-black US Cavalry Troop H that protected the Western territories in post-Civil War times. The story focuses on the troops attempts to capture an Apache warrior named Vittorio who slaughters the settlers in New Mexico.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118790/

Cabin in the Sky, 1943

***
In this film, a compulsive gambler dies during a shooting, but he’ll receive a second chance to reform himself and to make up with his worried wife.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035703/

Carbon Copy, 1981

***
A white corporate executive is surprised to discover that he has a black teenage son who can’t wait to be adopted into an almost exclusively white community.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082138/

Carmen Jones, 1954

****
Carmen Jones is a contemporary version of the Bizet opera, with new lyrics and an African-American cast.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046828/

Chasing Secrets, 1999

***
A young girl stuck in a horrific cycle of familial violence finds the power to build her own future from the place she least suspected in an inspiring tale of friendship and devotion.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/348448/Chasing-Secrets/overview

Classified X, 1997

****
In this documentary, black filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles examines African-American film history. Narrating while clips, stills, and location shots are seen behind him in a rear projection, Van Peebles’ commentary covers a wide range of racial stereotyping.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/160489/Classified-X/overview

Daughters of the Dust, 1991

****
Set in 1902, Daughters of the Dust takes a languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folkways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last bastions of these mores in America.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104057/

Deep in My Heart, 1998

***
This film, based on true events, tells the story of an African-American woman who was given up for adoption in infancy and searches for her biological mother as an adult.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/364721/Deep-in-My-Heart/overview

The Defiant Ones, 1958

***
Two escaped convicts chained together, one white and one black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051525/

Disappearing Acts, 2000

***
An aspiring singer and an almost divorced construction worker hoping to start his own business meet and fall in love and during the course of a stormy relationship, and they both come to some startling conclusions about love and each other.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0243220/

Disney’s Ruby Bridges, 1998

****
This film is a historical dramatization of the triumph of six-year-old Ruby Bridges, one of the first African-American students to integrate a public elementary school in New Orleans.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=479419

Down in the Delta, 1998

****
An elderly African-American woman, desperate to get her family out of the Chicago projects, sends them to live with her brother-in-law in Mississippi. The family finds strength in its hometown roots, and each family member begins the difficult task of rebuilding his or her life.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=443011

Eve’s Bayou, 1997

***
A well-respected doctor’s infidelity takes a toll on his children and his wife, who all act out in different ways.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/158663/Eve-s-Bayou/overview

Eyes on the Prize, 1986

*****
This TV documentary tells the story of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1952 to 1965.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092999/

Fatal Beauty, 1987

***
A tough female plainclothes officer (Whoopi Goldberg) hunts down the murderous drug dealers who are distributing a stolen shipment of lethally potent cocaine all over L.A.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093011/

Five Heartbeats, 1991

***
This film tells the story of the rise and fall of an African-American vocal group in the 1960s that discovers the reality of the music industry with its casual racism and greed.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101891/plotsummary

For Us, the Living, 1983

***
The story of black civil rights leader, Medgar Evers, who worked as field director in Jackson, Mississippi, for the NAACP, and who, after delivering a speech in which he vowed to complete the task of assuring equal right to the African-Americans of Jackson, was assassinated on June 11, 1963.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=24557&atid=0&category=overview

Four Little Girls, 1997

****
This Spike Lee film recounts the people and events leading up to the one of the most despicable hate-crimes during the height of the civil-rights movement, the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118540/

Friday, 1995

*
Having just been canned from his job on his day off, Craig and his best friend Smokey spend the day smoking up in their South Central neighborhood while dealing with a neighborhood bully, relationship troubles, an angry drug dealer, and a lot of other odd characters.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113118/

Ghosts of Mississippi, 1996

***
Ghosts of Mississippi is a drama covering the final trial of the assassin, Bryon De La Beckwith, who killed the 1960s civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116410/plotsummary

Glory, 1989

****
Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War’s first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097441/

The Great White Hope 1970

****
A black champion boxer and his white female companion struggle to survive while the white boxing establishment looks for ways to knock him down.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065797/

Green Pastures, 1935

***
God, heaven, and several Old Testament stories, including the Creation and Noah’s Ark, are described from the perspective of rural, black Americans.  In the DVD that I watched there was an interesting “short” with Sammy Davis Jr., aged 7!, running for President!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027700/

Harlem Nights, 1989

***
“Sugar” Ray is the owner of an illegal casino in the 1920s who contends with the pressures of vicious gangster and corrupt policemen who want to see him go out of business.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097481/

Holiday Heart, 2000

****
Holiday Heart is a tenderly tearful story about love, discrimination, and survival. The movie stars Ving Rhames as the title character, Holiday–a church-loving, flamboyant gay drag queen with a heart of gold who takes on the care of a drug-addicted mother and her young daughter.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250425/

Hollywood Shuffle, 1987

**
When small-town African-American actor Bobby Taylor wins a pimp-daddy part in a new film, he is forced to choose between accepting work that opens doors, but ultimately demeans him or returning to obscurity with his principles intact.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/22791/Hollywood-Shuffle/overview

Imitation of Life, 1959

****
A struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052918/

Island in the Sun 1957

***
Set on a fictitious island in the Caribbean during colonial British rule, this film focuses on the life of a young charismatic and handsome black male with political aspirations.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050549/

Jumpin’ Jack Flash, 1986

***
The tides of an underappreciated data clerk’s life turn when one day she picks up a transmission from a British spy trapped in Eastern Europe, who has the code name of Jumpin’ Jack Flash; he enlists the clerk’s help in securing an exit contract, sending her on quirky excursions to help him escape and avoid foul play.
http://movies.com/jumpin-jack-flash/d819920/comedy

Knights of the South Bronx, 2005

****
A businessman decides that he wants to teach school in the inner city and chooses a tough school in the South Bronx. He teaches the children how to play the game of chess, and along the way they learn a lot about life.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0471768/

Lackawanna Blues, 2005

****
In a story fueled by rhythm and blues, a young boy’s life is shaped by love and the stories of a cast of characters in the boarding house where he lives in 1960s Lackawanna, New York.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407936/

Last Place on Earth, 2002

***
Independent filmmaker James Slocum directs the romantic drama The Last Place on Earth, filmed in the Sierra Nevada mountain region of Northern California. Dana Ashbrook plays Rob Baskin, a businessman who travels to Lake Tahoe in order to spread the ashes of his late mother. Along the way, he meets Ann Field, a woman who’s dying of a terminal illness.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/290382/The-Last-Place-on-Earth/overview

A Lesson Before Dying, 1999

****
This film is an uplifting tale of a black man in the 1940’s South who is wrongly accused of killing a white man. His attorney’s only defense is that he is an animal, a hog, and, therefore, is unaccountable for his actions. Distraught in a prison cell, his family convinces the local schoolteacher to visit him and restore his deflated dignity.
http://movies.com/a-lesson-before-dying/d792821/drama

Life, 1999

***
The film Life is the story of two criminals who discover the value of life after being sentenced to life imprisonment.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0123964/

The Long Walk Home, 1991

****
In the midst of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, dignified domestic worker Odessa Cotter does her part by walking the nine miles to her job at the home of civic-minded white socialite Miriam Thompson. When Miriam discovers Odessa’s hardship, she volunteers rides, but her well-intentioned act earns her the wrath of the racist White Citizens’ Council.
http://movies.com/the-long-walk-home/d811793/drama

Love Jones, 1997

***
Darius Lovehall is a young black poet in Chicago who starts dating Nina Moseley, a beautiful and talented photographer. Nina tests the strength of Darius’ feelings and sets a chain of romantic complications into motion.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119572/

Lying Lips, 1939

*****
Edna Mae Harris stars as a nightclub singer who is wrongly convicted and sent to prison for the murder of her aunt. Benjamin, who is in love with her, sets out to clear her name. The film was directed by Oscar Micheaux and produced by the distinguished black aviator Colonel Hubert Julian.
http://movies.com/lying-lips/d808207/drama

Made in America, 1993

****
A light-skinned 17 year-old girl, conceived by artificial insemination and believing that her father is dead, discovers that he is alive, white, and the obnoxious local cable car salesman. She, her African-American bookstore-owner mother, and her newly found father must deal with what this revelation means for them.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=18375

Malcolm X, 1992

*****
This film is a biography of Malcolm X, the famous African American leader.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104797/

Mama Flora’s Family, 1998

****
Miniseries from Alex Haley takes up where his “Roots” saga left off. The story spans fifty years and examines the struggles of Mama Flora, the black matriarch, and her family. She instills an understanding of God and family during a time when those ideals were questioned and never backs down as she observes three generations of her family live through the ever-changing American black experience.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=473689

Manderlay, 2005

**
“Manderlay” is the second part of the Danish director Lars von Trier’s projected United States trilogy. In the film, Grace, the persecuted do-good heroine of “Dogville,” travels to Louisiana and takes over a plantation where slavery persists 70 years after its official abolition. As she reorganizes the plantation’s social structure and teaches democracy, she discovers that old, socially ingrained habits of slavery die hard.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/327163/Manderlay/overview

Men of Honor, 2000

***
Men of Honor is the story of Carl Brashear, the first African American US Navy Diver and the man who trained him.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203019/

The Middle Passage, HBO, 2000

***
The ugly realities of the slave trade and the horrible toll it took upon the Africans who fell into its trap are explored in this drama. Filmed largely without dialogue, The Middle Passage follows a vessel filled with captured men, women, and children being shipped from Senegal to America.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/220931/The-Middle-Passage/overview

Midnight Ramble: The Story of Race Movies

****
Midnight Ramble concerns Black Hollywood from the period just after World War I through the 1940s. It considers everything from the low budget, independent Race movies of Oscar Micheaux to major studio productions. It’s a tribute to a very misunderstood, and mysterious film genre that lasted for over forty years.
http://www.moderntimes.com/palace/black/

Miss Evers’ Boys, 1997

****
Miss Evers’ Boys tells the true story of the US Government’s 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, in which a group of black test subjects were allowed to die, despite a cure having been developed.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119679/

Mississippi Burning, 1989

****
Two FBI agents investigating the murder of civil rights workers during the 60s seek to breach the conspiracy of silence in a small Southern town where segregation divides black and white.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095647/

Money Talks, 1997

***
A low-level criminal and a struggling newsman become unlikely partners in this comedy. Franklin Hatchett is a fast-talking hustler who runs a small time ticket-scalping business. A TV news story by reporter James Russell brings Franklin’s business to the attention of the police, and he finds himself under arrest. Hoping to clear his name, Franklin approaches Russell with a deal that will help them both.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/158617/Money-Talks/overview

Murder in Mississippi, 1990

*
This feature was inspired by the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers later chronicled in the mainstream feature Mississippi Burning. This film, however, is pure exploitation, patterned along the lines of ’60s potboilers like The Black Klansman and Girl on a Chain Gang.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/103183/Murder-in-Mississippi/overview

Nightjohn, 1996

****
Sarny, a 12-year-old slave girl in the ante-bellum South, faces a relatively hopeless life, until a former runaway slave, called Nightjohn takes Sarny under his wing and, in exchange for a pinch of tobacco, secretly begins to teach her to read and write, a crime punishable by death.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117180/

Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, 1996

*****
This film relates the story of a tightly connected Afro-American community informally called Colored Town where the inhabitants live and depend on each other in a world where racist oppression is everywhere, as told by a boy called Cliff who spent his childhood there.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114039/

Our Friend Martin, 1999

****
A young student is sent back in time to meet Martin Luther King Jr. to learn what he did for humanity.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0248271/

The Piano Lesson, 1995

****
This drama tells the story of an impoverished black family whose history is told in the carvings on the family piano. Boy Willie wants to sell the piano and use the money to buy farmland, but sister Berniece won’t part with it. The critically acclaimed film chronicles their struggle to come to terms with their family’s past and its future.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/152327/The-Piano-Lesson/overview

Pinky, 1949

****
Pinky Johnson is a pretty, light-skinned Negro nursing student who’s been passing for white, a fact she’s kept secret from her Granny and the young doctor with whom she is in love.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041746/

Poetic Justice, 1993

**
Justice, a hairdresser at a small salon in South Central Los Angeles who uses her poetry to deal with her grief after her boyfriend is killed in a shooting incident at a drive-in. Maya Angelou wrote Justice’s poems.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/38522/Poetic-Justice/overview

Pride, 2007

***
The determined Jim Ellis starts a swim team for troubled teens at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475355/

Race to Freedom: Story of the Underground Railroad, 1994

***
This film uses historical fact as background for a fictional adventure tale. It provides a valuable educational service in detailing the history of the Underground Railroad and the people responsible for its maintenance.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/132837/Race-to-Freedom-The-Underground-Railroad/overview

Raisin in the Sun, 1961

****
A black woman uses her late husband’s life insurance to build a better world for her children.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=87646

The Real Eve, 2002

***
The made-for-cable documentary film The Real Eve is predicated on the theory that the human race can be traced to a common ancestor. The mitochondrial DNA of one prehistoric woman, who lived in Africa, has, according to this theory, been passed down from generation to generation over a span of 150,000 years.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/264406/The-Real-Eve/overview

Rebound: the Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault, 1996

****
In this inspirational sports drama, a talented but drug-addicted basketball player cleans up his act and devotes his life to teaching Harlem children to play the game.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/162636/Rebound-The-Legend-of-Earl-The-Goat-Manigault/overview

Red Sneakers, 2002

***
A pair of old red sneakers, once worn by an all-star in the Negro Basketball leagues in the 1930’s, transforms a high school student’s life.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0272274/

The Rosa Parks Story, 2002

****
The story of the civil rights heroine whose refusal to obey racial bus segregation was just one of her acts in her fight for justice.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0293562/

Rosewood, 1997

**
This film is a dramatization of a 1923 horrific racist lynch mob attack on an African American community in Florida.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120036/

Sally Hemings: An American Scandal, 2000

****
This film is the story of the extraordinary, controversial thirty-eight-year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress, Sally Hemings.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206951/

Selma, Lord, Selma, 1999

****
In 1965 Alabama, an 11-year-old girl is touched by a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. and becomes a devout follower. But her resolution is tested when she joins others in the famed march from Selma to Montgomery.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0171728/

Separate But Equal, 1991

****
This film follows the true story of the NAACP court challenge of racial school segregation in the Brown vs. Board of Education. This struggle would destroy the legal validity for racial segregation in general and prove to be the start and the first major victory of the civil rights movement.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102879/

Simple Life of Noah Dearborn, 1999

***
Sitting on 35 acres of Georgia land coveted by a shopping mall developer, 91-year-old Noah Dearborn is untainted by modern life. The girlfriend of one of the developers is a psychologist, and is asked to evaluate Noah for a possible move to have him declared incompetent. But she soon falls under his spell of a simple life and becomes his ally in his fight to keep his land
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200138/

Slam, 1998

***
Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City. Unable to find a job, Ray copes with the despair and poverty of his neighborhood by using his wits and verbal talent.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0139615/

Slavery and the Making of America, 2005

***
Slavery and the Making of America is a four-part PBS series documenting the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies to its end in the Southern states and the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction. It looks at slavery as an integral part of a developing nation, challenging the long held notion that slavery was exclusively a Southern enterprise.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/about/index.html

Small Steps, Big Strides, 1997

***
This film seeks to document the types of discrimination and unique challenges African-American actors have had to overcome, as well as recent triumphs. It uses both older black-and-white film clips, along with color ones, to review the absence and presence of African-Americans in Hollywood productions over the years.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/204844/Small-Steps-Big-Strides-The-Black-Experience-in-Hollywood/overview

A Soldier’s Story, 1984

****
Inspired by the Herman Melville novel Billy Budd, this film is set in the racially divided 1940s, at Fort Neal, Louisiana, a military base where black soldiers are sent not to fight in WWII but to play baseball against other armed forces teams. The murder of a black sergeant, Waters brings an investigator, Captain Davenport to the base to solve the mystery.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/45520/A-Soldier-s-Story/overview

Something New, 2006

***
Kenya McQueen, a corporate lawyer, finds love in the most unexpected place when she agrees to go on a blind date with Brian Kelly, a sexy and free-spirited landscaper.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0437777/

Something the Lord Made, 2004

****
Based on a true story, Something the Lord Made tells the absorbing tale of two doctors in the South who bucked tradition and racial prejudice to revolutionize the medical world. Under any other circumstances the men would have been exhilarated by their advances and applauded throughout the medical profession, but the prejudiced heart of the South gets in the way of their success.
http://movies.com/something-the-lord-made/d775310/drama

Stomp the Yard, 2007

***
After the death of his brother, an expert street dancer goes to Georgia to attend Truth University, but his efforts to get an education and woo the girl he likes are sidelined when he joins in a fraternity’s effort to win a step dancing competition.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0775539/

Sugar Hill, 1994

***
Hardened, uncompromising drug dealer Roemello Skuggs decides to quit his scumbag profession so he may start a new life with his girlfriend. However, he soon learns getting out is nowhere near as easy as getting in, as everything gradually builds up to a dramatic climax.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107079/

10,000 Black Men Named George, 2002

****
During the Depression, the only readily available job for freed slaves was at the Pullman Rail Company, which meant working for meager pay and being addressed only as “George,” after George Pullman, who was the first person to employ freed slaves. Philip Randolph, a black journalist, makes it his mission to help these forgotten workers, and forges ahead to form the first black union in America.
http://movies.com/10000-black-men-named-george/d780521

A Time to Kill, 1996

****
In this film, a young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117913/

Thomas Jefferson, 1996

***
Portraits, paintings, drawings and excerpts from Jefferson’s journals, letters, scientific papers and political writings help to outline many aspects of his life.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=478974

Their Eyes Were Watching God, 2005

***
This film is a drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford’s search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0406265/

Tuskegee Airmen

****

This film tells the true story of a group of African American pilots who overcame racist opposition to become one of the finest US fighter groups in World War II.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114745/

Unchained Memories, 2002

*****
This film features a truly impressive array of black actors and actresses verbally recreating the reminiscences of those who lived under the yoke of slavery, based on the transcribed memories of slaves still living in the 1930s.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/278217/Unchained-Memories-Readings-from-the-Slave-Narratives/overview

Unforgivable Blackness – the Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

****
This film tells the story of Jack Johnson — the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World, whose dominance over his white opponents spurred furious debates and race riots in the early 20th century.
http://www.pbs.org/unforgivableblackness/about/

The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, 2004

***
An incendiary documentary, this film poses a harrowing inquisition into a murder that catalyzed the civil rights movement. The film presents evidence that the killing of Emmett Louis Till was a conspiracy involving many more people than the two Mississippians who were acquitted of the crime in a sham trial.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/295690/The-Untold-Story-of-Emmett-Louis-Till/overview

When the Levees Broke – a Requiem in Four Acts, 2006

****
In four “acts” of approximately one hour each, this film examines the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the late summer of 2005 and the incorrigible response to the catastrophe from U.S. government agencies. The film then evaluates the overwhelming measures that must be taken for the area to rebound and recover fully, demonstrating time and again that this seems an unlikely prospect in the immediate future.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/345875/When-the-Levees-Broke-A-Requiem-in-Four-Acts/overview

With All Deliberate Speed, 2004

***
Documentary filmmaker Peter Gilbert unearths the legacy of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education — where it was ruled that “in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place” — via never-before-heard stories from people directly responsible for, and greatly affected by, the original case.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0408338/

A Woman Called Moses, 1978

**
The made-for-TV movie A Woman Called Moses stars Cicely Tyson as real-life escaped slave Harriet Tubman.
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/55051/A-Woman-Called-Moses/overview

Words By Heart, 1984

****
Set at the turn of the century, a young girl and her family are the only blacks living in a small Midwestern community, where they face hatred and prejudice.
http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?scarlettTitleId=481624

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