2nd Saturday/Film Screening: "The Black Pres; Soldiers Without Swords"
Saturday, July 14, 2018
The Brickhouse Art Gallery2837 36th St
Sacramento, California 95817
2000 Alfred I. duPont Award Winner
1999 Sundance Film Festival Award Winner
1999 SF Film Festival: Golden Spire Award
We are excited to host the screening of; "The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords." A panel discussion to follow, moderated by Milton "510" Bowens. A special painting was created by Milton Bowens for this exhibition titled: "The Black Press," on view now, at the gallery.
The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords is the first film to chronicle the history of the Black press, including its central role in the construction of modern African American identity. It recounts the largely forgotten stories of generations of Black journalists who risked life and livelihood so African Americans could represent themselves in their own words and images.
The Black Press takes viewers "behind the veil" of segregation to recover a distinctly Black perspective on key events from antebellum America to the Civil Rights Movement. It offers an intimate social history of African American life during these turbulent years - the achievements trumpeted, defeats pondered, celebrities admired, even the products advertised.
From the founding of the first Black newspaper, Freedom's Journal in 1827, Black abolitionists like Frederick Douglass recognized the press as a powerful weapon against the enforced silence of slavery. This tradition of crusading journalism was carried on by pioneering scribes like Ida B. Wells, one of the first female newspaper owners in America and a leader in the fight against lynchings and Jim Crow. Robert S. Abbott built the Chicago Defender into the most powerful and successful Black-owned newspaper of all time and is often credited with inspiring the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to northern cities.
The Black Press goes on to contrast mainstream coverage of World War II with the nearly forgotten "Double V" campaign spearheaded by the Pittsburgh Courier. Black newspapers, linking the struggle against fascism abroad to segregation at home, terrified J. Edgar Hoover into trying to indict them for sedition, and helped lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement to come. Charlotta Bass, editor and publisher of the California Eagle for 40 years, ran for Vice President on the Progressive Party ticket in 1952, the first African American to run for national office.
Ironically, the Black press in a sense became a victim of the success of the very movements it nurtured. During the Civil Rights struggles and urban insurrections of the 1960s, white-owned papers at last began to hire African American journalists and even compete for Black readership. The film asks if integration into the mainstream media has left many communities bereft of a committed Black journalistic presence.
The Black Press commemorates a heroic and indispensable chapter in the ongoing struggle for a diverse and democratic media. It demonstrates that the written word has been as fundamental as music or religion to the evolution of African American consciousness. And it will convince students that it is as important today as in the past for Black media professionals to play a vigorous role not just in print media but in the rapidly evolving information technologies of the future.
Filmmaker Stanley Nelson is an Emmy and Sundance award-winning director and producer. His works explore African-American lives and issues such as Two Dollars and a Dream: The Story of Madame C.J. Walker, America’s first self-made African American female millionaire, and The Murder of Emmet Till, which won an Emmy award, and the 2006 film Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple that detailed the journey of religious leader Jim Jones. Nelson has received a CINE Golden Eagle Award, an Emmy, the Sundance Film Festival 2003 Special Jury Prize, and a George Foster Peabody Award for his work.
A free CD-ROM with additional scenes, timelines, a teacher's guide and interactive activities accompanies each video purchased.
Online Teacher's Guide and classroom activities
About MacArthur Genius Award winner