At 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 16, PBS’ acclaimed history series, American Experience, will present Freedom Riders, the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. The City Library will host a preview screening of the film on Tuesday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium.
From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was greatly tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.
Following the American Experience special, KUED (Ch. 7) will premiere a half-hour companion documentary, Utah's Freedom Riders, at 9:00 p.m. on Monday, May 16. Filmmaker Nancy Green shows how, throughout the heart of the 20th Century, Utahns of all colors carried out the fight for civil rights.
After Utah's Freedom Riders, a special collaboration between KUED and Spy Hop Productions, Navigating Freedom: A Utah Youth Perspective, will present four short films created by eight high school filmmakers. The deeply personal films look at the impact and perception of civil and human rights in the context of an African refugee in Utah, an immigrant from Mexico, Muslim youth in Utah after 9/11, and the experiences of a "straight" high school student who is a member of her school's Gay-Straight Alliance group.
The City Library and several other local organizations have prepared local programming to supplement the Freedom Riders broadcast and extend the conversation about this important moment in American history into the Salt Lake City community. A full list of activities, screenings, and exhibitions can be found at kued.org/productions/freedom-riders.
Events at The City Library
Civil Rights Film Series
Preview Screening: American Experience's Freedom Riders
Tuesday, May 10, 6:30 p.m.
Main Library Auditorium
See Stanley Nelson's Freedom Riders documentary before it is broadcast on PBS' American Experience series. Nelson will participate in a Q&A session via Skype following the screening. Freedom Riders was an official selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, 2010 Silverdocs Documentary Festival, and 2010 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. This event is presented in partnership with KUED and WGBH American Experience.
Freedom on My Mind: film screening and community discussion with Stephen Holbrook
Tuesday, June 14, 6:30 p.m.
Main Library Auditorium
Through person interviews, archival film, television footage, and powerful music, Freedom on My Mind vividly chronicles the complex and compelling history of the Mississippi voter registration struggles of 1961 to 1984. It is the story of youthful idealism and shared vision, of a generation who believed in and fought for the principles of democracy. Nominee for the 1995 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and winner of the 1994 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize and the 1994 International Documentary Association's Award for Best Feature Documentary.
A community discussion will follow the film screening, facilitated by Stephen Holbrook. Holbrook was a civil rights worker in Mississippi and Utah, an anti-Vietnam protester, founder of KRCL Community Radio, a 3-term member of the State Legislature, coordinator of the development of the Salt Lake Community Shelter and Resource Center, and is the retired Executive Director of Envision Utah.
Neshoba: The Price of Freedom and The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
Tuesday, June 28, 6:30 p.m.
Main Library Auditorium
The City Library presents the feature-length Neshoba and short film The Barber of Birmingham in this evening of film and discussion of the Southern American experience during the Civil Rights era. Director Micki Dickoff (Neshoba) will participate in a Q&A session following the screening.
Neshoba: In 1964, a mob of Klansmen murdered three civil rights works in the small Mississippi county of Neshoba – the infamous "Mississippi Burning" murders. The victims were in the Deep South helping to register African-American voters during what came to be known as the Freedom Summer. Neshoba tells the story of these three Americans and the 40-year struggle to bring their killers to justice in a place that is still dealing with the legacy of a violent and racist past. Winner of 16 film festival awards.
The Barber of Birmingham: An African-American barber in Birmingham, Alabama, experiences the fulfillment of an unimaginable dream: the election of the United States' first African-American President. Official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Freedom Riders Traveling Exhibition
June 13 – July 11, 2011
Main Library, Level 1
In the Freedom Riders exhibition, which is traveling across America in conjunction with the Freedom Riders broadcast on American Experience, a detailed narrative of the Rides is illustrated with vivid archival photos and newspaper clippings that document this pivotal event in the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibition is enhanced by companion audio that allows visitors to hear the poignant eyewitness accounts of the Riders who endured bitter racism and savage beatings, but ultimately changed America forever.
Freedom Riders is a traveling exhibition developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in partnership with American Experience. Major funding for the traveling exhibition provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Exclusive corporate funding for American Experience is provided by Liberty Mutual. Major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding provided by Lynn Bay Dayton, Rodger & Dawn Nordblom, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers.
Freedom Riders Booklists, developed by The City Library and The King's English Bookshop:
· Civil Rights Books for Adults
· Civil Rights Books for Kids
· Civil Rights Books for Teens
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