Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle, A Film Series

To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington and to introduce four documentaries with riveting new footage illustrating the history of civil rights in America, the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown will offer a series of screenings and discussion forums on select Tuesdays in January and February.

Jan 28: The Abolitionists
Moderated by Holly Snyder, PhD
6:30pm
Smith-Buonanno 106, 95 Cushing Street

Feb 4: Slavery by Another Name
Moderated by Professor Tricia Rose
6:30pm
Smith-Buonanno 106, 95 Cushing Street

Feb 11: Freedom Riders
Moderated by Professors Charlie Cobb and Judy Richardson
6:30pm
Metcalf Auditorium, 190 Thayer Street

Feb 25: The Loving Story
Moderated by Professor Francoise Hamlin
6:30pm
Smith-Buonanno 106, 95 Cushing Street

 

The Created Equal film set is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

CSSJ is one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the Civil Rights Movement. The powerful documentaries, The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, The Loving Story, and Freedom Riders, include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. Freedom Riders received an Emmy in 2012, and The Loving Story and The Abolitionists have been nominated for Emmys in 2013. Each of the films was produced with NEH support, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. Created Equal mprograms bring communities together to revisit our shared history and help bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American civic life. Visit www.createdequal.neh.gov for more information.

 

The Abolitionists: 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.

 

Slavery by Another Name: 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.”

The Loving Story: 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.


Freedom Riders: 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 8mm 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. 

 

Created Equal signature image: Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection
The Abolitionists:
©WGBH Educational Foundation/Antony Platt
Slavery by Another Name:
Jon Van Amber and Omni Studio
The Loving Story:
Photo by Grey Villet
Freedom Riders:
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute/Mississippi Department of Archives & History