Driving While Black
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WCNY is pleased to present a free Virtual Screening and Discussion of the new PBS documentary, "Driving While Black” presented by Northwestern Mutual and sponsored by The Cazenovia Forum.
Explore the role of the automobile in the lives of African Americans in the early twentieth century, as documentarians chronicle this transformative period in American racial, cultural, and social history. Based on over a decade of research by acclaimed African American historian Dr. Gretchen Sorin, the film draws on a rich archive of materials, including photographs, advertisements, road signs, maps, letters, legal records, and personal insights from scholars, writers, musicians, artists, religious leaders and ordinary American travelers.
Beginning at 5 p.m., please enjoy a selection of photos from WCNY's Scenes of the Region Fall Edition photography competition accompanied by music from our Classic FM radio station.
The documentary will begin at 5:30 p.m. with opening remarks from WCNY's CEO and President, Mitch Gelman, followed by an introduction from our keynote speakers: documentarian and author, Ric Burns, and professor and author, Gretchen Sorin.
After the film, stay tuned for a live Q&A on Zoom with Ric Burns and Dr. Gretchen Sorin, moderated by Dr. Grant Reeher.
SOTR Fall 2020
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- Dr. Gretchen Sorin
Dr. Gretchen Sullivan Sorin is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Her dissertation and upcoming book form the basis of the scholarship for this project. Her research explores the role that the automobile played in the lives of African Americans during the Jim Crow era, the way that African Americans expressed middle class American values through car ownership, and how cars helped change deeply entrenched racial etiquette. Sorin received her Ph.D. in history from the University at Albany in 2009.
- Ric Burns
Ric Burns is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and writer. Burns has been writing, directing, and producing historical documentaries for over 25 years, since his collaboration on the PBS series The Civil War (1990), which he produced with his brother, Ken Burns, and co-wrote with Geoffrey Ward. Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed some of the most distinguished programs for PBS, and his work has won numerous film and television awards. Burns was educated at Columbia University and Cambridge University.
- Dr. Grant Reeher
Grant Reeher is the Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute and a professor of political science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Grant’s research and teaching interests are primarily in American politics and political theory, with an emphasis on legislative politics, democratic representation, and active citizenship.
The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.