Centre kicks off civil rights film and discussion series with “The Abolitionists”
Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle encourages communities to revisit the history of civil rights in America and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge racial and cultural divides in our civic life. Four outstanding documentary films, spanning the period from the 1830s to the 1960s, form the centerpiece of this project, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation.
The first of these films, The Abolitionists, will be shown at Vahlkamp Theatre on Centre’s campus Sunday, Oct. 5, from 3 to 6 p.m., as well as Tuesday, Oct. 7 and Thursday, Oct. 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Ewen Room of the Campus Center.
This documentary vividly brings to life the struggles of the men and women who led the battle to end slavery: impassioned New England newspaper editor William Lloyd Garrison; former slave, author and activist Frederick Douglass; Angelina Grimké, daughter of a rich South Carolina slaveholder; Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the enormously influential Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and John Brown, ultimately executed for his armed seizure of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.
“This video serves to demonstrate the early beginnings of peaceful, nonviolent action on behalf of Americans to end slavery in our country over 150 years ago,” explains Assistant Vice President for Diversity Education J.H. Atkins. “It also highlights how diverse the group of change agents had to be, even back in our early beginnings.”
Atkins, along with Pierce and Amelia Harrington Lively Professor of Politics and Law Daniel Stroup, is administering the NEH grant as well as organizing other civil rights programing on campus.
“The film will connect us and this early struggle to the modern day Civil Rights Movement, which began over 50 years ago,” adds Atkins.
Once the community has had a chance to view the film, a public discussion will be held on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ewen Room in order to facilitate conversations about the issues and questions raised by the film.
The Boyle County Public Library will also host screenings of The Abolitionists on Tuesday, Oct. 7 and Wednesday Oct. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Mahan Gallery, as well as a discussion on Sunday, Oct. 12, at 2 p.m. in the library’s Community Room.
by Caitlan Cole