Free Documentary Screenings at Alexandria Black History Museum | News Release | City of Alexandria


From Slavery to Civil Rights 

Free Documentary Screenings at the Alexandria Black History Museum


The Alexandria Black History Museum (ABHM) is offering documentary screenings of four films September 22nd – September 25th. The screenings are free and open to the public. This program part of National Endowments for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle Grant. The grant is part of the Bridging Cultures initiative. This important initiative encourages public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in U.S. history and civic life. The screenings are being offered in conjunction with the ABHM and 1882 Foundation’s programming on Civil Rights and Immigration.

Tuesday, September 22 – Noon (short break 2:00 pm) –The Abolitionists (2013, 180 minutes)

Written, produced and directed by Rob Rapley. Edited by John Chimples & Al Jernon Tunsh. Cinematography by Tim Cragg. Narrated by Oliver Platt. Music by Tim Phillips. Executive Producer Sharon Grimberg. American Experience is a pro­duction of WGBH Boston.

The Abolitionists vividly brings to life the struggles of the men and women who led the battle to end slavery. Through innovative use of reenactments, this three-episode series puts a face on the anti-slavery movement—or rather, five faces: William Lloyd Garrison, impassioned New England newspaper editor; Frederick Douglass, former slave, author, and activist; 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.

Wednesday September 23 – 2:00 – Slavery by Another Name  (2012, 90 minutes)

A production of TPT National Productions in association with Two Dollars & A Dream, Inc. Produced and directed by Sam Pollard. Executive Producer Catherine Allan. Co-Executive Producer Douglas A. Blackmon. Written by Sheila Curran Bernard. Edited by Jason Pollard. Narrated by Laurence Fishburne. Original Score by Michael Bacon.

It was a shocking reality that often went unacknowledged, then and now: a huge system of forced, unpaid labor, mostly affecting Southern black men, that lasted until World War II. Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning book by Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name tells the stories of men, charged with crimes like vagrancy, and often guilty of nothing, who were bought and sold, abused, and subjected to sometimes deadly working conditions as unpaid convict labor. Interviews with the descendants of victims and perpetrators resonate with a modern audience. Christina Comer, who discovered how her family profited from the system, says that “the story is important no matter how painful the reality is.”

Thursday, September 24- 2:00 pm – The Loving Story  (2011, 77 minutes)

An Augusta Films Production. Directed by Nancy Burski. Produced by Nancy Burski and Elisabeth Haviland James. Writers Nancy Burski and Susie Ruth Powell. Cinematography by Rex Miller, Steve Milligan and Abbott Mills. Original Music David Majzun.

Mildred and Richard Loving knew it was technically illegal for them to live as a married couple in Virginia because she was of African American and Native American descent and he was white. But they never expected to be woken up in their bedroom and arrested one night in 1958. The documentary brings to life the Lovings’ marriage and the legal battle that followed through little-known filmed interviews and photographs shot for Life magazine.

The film narrates the lives of Mildred and Richard Loving and their fight for the recognition of their marriage, all the way to the Supreme Court. The film’s immediacy derives from the inclusion of little-known footage dating from the 1960s depicting the daily life of the couple and their three children while they were in hiding in a house in Virginia.

Friday, September 25  – 2:00 pm – Freedom Riders (2011, 120 minutes)

A Film by Stanley Nelson. A Firelight Media production for American Experience. Written, produced, and directed by Stanley Nelson. Produced by Laurens Grant. Edi­tors Lewis Erskine and Al Jernon Tunsh. Original Concept Developed by Paul Taylor. Director of Photography Robert Shepard. Composer Tom Phillips. Based in part on the book Freedom Riders by Raymond Arsenault. American Experience is a production of WGBH Boston.

Attracting a diverse group of volunteers—black and white, young and old, male and female, secular and religious, northern and southern—the Freedom Rides of 1961 took the civil rights struggle out of the courtroom and onto the streets of the Jim Crow South. Freedom Riders tells the terrifying, moving, and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South risked being jailed, beaten, or killed, as white local and state authorities ignored or encouraged violent attacks. The film includes previously unseen amateur 8-mm footage of the burning bus on which some Freedom Riders were temporarily trapped, taken by a local twelve-year-old and held as evidence since 1961 by the FBI.

The Alexandria Black History Museum is located at 902 Wythe Street in Alexandria’s Parker-Gray Historic District and is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patrons needing special accommodation, must notify the museum two weeks prior to the event. For more information call 703.746.4356. The Museum is within walking distance of the Braddock Road Metro on the Yellow and Blue Lines.  For more information, please visit www.alexblackhistory.org

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