Birth of a Movement

September 19, 2020
5:00pm Central Time
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Welcome

In 1915, Boston-based African American newspaper editor and activist William M. Trotter waged a battle against D.W. Griffith’s technically groundbreaking but notoriously Ku Klux Klan-friendly The Birth of a Nation, unleashing a fight that still rages today about race relations, media representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood. Birth of a Movement, based on Dick Lehr's book The Birth of a Movement: How Birth of a Nation Ignited the Battle for Civil Rights, captures the backdrop to this prescient clash between human rights, freedom of speech, and a changing media landscape.

Griffith originally titled his three-hour epic The Clansman, based on a novel and play of the same name, but changed it to The Birth of a Nation to reflect the director's belief his work gave the true story of America's "Reconstruction." Set during the Civil War, it was told from a point of view sympathetic to the Confederacy, and its portrayal of African American men was controversial even then, painting them as unintelligent and sexually aggressive, while members of the KKK were shown as valiant heroes protecting the innocent. (The film's release led to a spike in membership for the Klan.) Birth of a Nation was one of the first motion pictures screened at the White House, and white film audiences made it a box office hit, but in each city it traveled to it was also met with protests by African Americans, including by the newly formed NAACP which attempted to ban the film.

These protests were led by Trotter, the first African American Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University and editor of The Guardian newspaper. A Northern intellectual and contemporary of W.E.B. Dubois, Trotter was positioning himself as a leading voice in a fractured civil rights movement.

Birth of a Movement features interviews with Spike Lee (whose NYU student film The Answer was a response to Griffith’s film), Reginald Hudlin, DJ Spooky, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Dick Lehr, while exploring how Griffith’s film — long taught in film classes as an innovative work of genius — motivated generations of African American filmmakers and artists as they worked to reclaim their history and their onscreen image.

Video Descriptions

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series is a joint project of Arkansas PBS (ArPBS), Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA), Arkansas Cinema Society (ACS), Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective (WFYMALC), Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association (AMFAA), and Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement (APJMM).

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series is a joint project of Arkansas PBS (ArPBS), Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA), Arkansas Cinema Society (ACS), Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective (WFYMALC), Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association (AMFAA), and Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement (APJMM).

20 Seconds or More ft. Doug E. Fresh, Artie Green & Gerry Gunn

20 Seconds or More was created by Hip Hop Public Health to empower youth and families with the right information, tools and resources to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Watch the music video to learn proper handwashing techniques, safety protocols and what to do if you have symptoms. Featured guests include Ashanti, Adrian “Easy AD” Harris, Artie Green, Big Daddy Kane, Bill Bellamy, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Cedric the Entertainer, Chuck D, Charlie Mack, Charlamagne tha God, Capone, Cole Anthony, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Doug E. Fresh, Drederick Irving, Gerry Gunn, Jamie Foxx, Janell Snowden, Jesse Itzler, Jordin Sparks, Joseph Rev. “RUN” Simmons, Kelly Price, LisaRaye McCoy, Maurice DuBois, Michael Blackson, Monie Love, Pete Rock, Rasheed Wallace,  Sara Blakely, Sky Katz, Teddy Riley, Tori Kelly, Toya Johnson, Dr. Olajide Williams, Lori Rose Benson, NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita N. Holmes, Dr. James Noble and family, LaShawn Jones, Santa Maria-Gronholm family, Rivera-Ezeta family and Dr. Danielle Chase. Spread the word using #20SecondsOrMore and tag us in your video to get featured. Follow us on: → Twitter.com/HHPHorg → Instagram.com/HHPHorg → Facebook.com/HHPHorg → LinkedIn.com/company/15272555 Learn more at HHPH.org/20SecondsOrMore Join the movement at HHPH.org/JoinUs Donate at HHPH.org/Donate

A message from the When We All Vote co-chairs

Michelle Obama and the other When We All Vote co-chairs are squading up to make sure every single eligible voter is registered and ready to vote in the 2020 elections. But they need your help, too! Join us at whenweallvote.org.

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series is a joint project of Arkansas PBS (ArPBS), Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA), Arkansas Cinema Society (ACS), Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective (WFYMALC), Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association (AMFAA), and Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement (APJMM).

ONE VOTE. A Film By Christine Woodhouse. Official Trailer.

At a moment of unprecedented cynicism about the political process, One Vote bears hopeful witness to the humanity and rich diversity of American voters, and to the unsung stories that comprise our exercise of democracy. The characters of One Vote include the charismatic owner of the last tavern polling place in the US, an Alaskan family that travels miles of snow-covered roads by dogsled to reach their polling place, an iconic American investor (Warren Buffett) who devotes his Election Day to transporting voters in Omaha needing a ride to vote, a gospel-singing physician who heals and empowers disenfranchised citizens in rural South Carolina, and a former felon, casting an emotional vote in Kentucky for the first time since his right to vote was restored. Their stories connect us with the struggles of generations past, as well as voters' dreams for the future. More info: www.onevote.us #OneVote

Ari Squires' No More Chains 2: It's Time for Change Promo Trailer

Hidden Colors II Trailer

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series

The Shelter-in-Place Virtual Film Series is a joint project of Arkansas PBS (ArPBS), Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA), Arkansas Cinema Society (ACS), Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective (WFYMALC), Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association (AMFAA), and Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement (APJMM).

BirthMove

65min 24sec

Moderators

  • Kwami Abdul-Bey

    Co-Convenor of the Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement

  • AMFAA

  • Clarice Abdul-Bey

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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.