February is Black History Month and the East Side Freedom Library is celebrating with a film series and other related events through out the month. Each Monday in February features a film related to black history. Events are free and open to all.
7 p.m., Feb. 1: Rize
This is a lively documentary about new popular dance forms, called clowning, created by young African Americans in South Central Los Angeles in the aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King riots. After the film, Alessandra Williams, a member of the Ananya Dance Theater and a PhD student in World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, leads a discussion.
7 p.m., Feb. 8: The Watermelon Woman
The protagonist in this 1996 feature film is a young African American woman who works in a video store to pay the bills. She becomes fascinated by the life and career of an African American actress who was cast in stereotypical “mammy” roles in 1930s films and seeks to make a film about her. Freda Fair, a PhD student in women’s studies and African American studies at UCLA, leads a discussion of this film.
7 p.m., Feb. 15: Brother John
Sidney Poitier helped shape and starred in this 1971 dramatic film about a mysterious man who returns to his Alabama hometown for his sister’s funeral. He arrives in the midst of a labor strike and the local authorities suspect he is an outside agitator. Dr. John Wright, professor of African American studies and English at the University of Minnesota, leads a discussion.
Feb. 22: Ghosts of Amistad
This new, award-winning documentary follows historian Marcus Rediker on a trip to Sierra Leone in search of local memories of the slave ship rebellion which gripped the United States, first in 1839 when it happened, and again in the late 1990s when Stephen Spielberg’s movie was enthusiastically received. Ghosts of Amistad revolves around interviews with fishermen, truck drivers and village residents in the West African country from which the Amistad slaves were captured and sold. The post-film discussion is led by Dwayne Williams, a PhD student in African history at the University of Minnesota.
7 p.m., Feb. 29: Their Eyes Were Watching God
This film and discussion are part of “The Big Read,” a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and led locally by Metropolitan State University’s Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship. More than 1,000 community residents are reading and discussing Zora Neale Hurston’s classic 1937 novel and engaging the text through performances by the Black Storytellers Alliance and screenings of this 2005 film, based on a script adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and starring Halle Berry.
Additional Black History Month Events
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