Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wit, Will and Walls at University of Tennessee

Here in Knoxville, TN this week to pre-pre-premiere the 15-minute version of Wit, Will and Walls to Dr. Cynthia Fleming's graduate class in African American Studies. Dr. Fleming has written extensively on the civil rights movement of the '60s, is the author of Soon We Will Not Cry: The Liberation of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson and was one of the scholars featured in the film. A good class with thoughtful feedback. Here are some of their comments:

"Powerful. This piece is good at presenting the civil rights movement as a broad, multi-dimensional movement."

"Excellent focus on micro, personal story. An amazing source for an amazing account."

"The reenactments were wonderful."

"Show us more storyline, more reenactments, more background."

"It would be good to get the white (students) perspective."

The second half of class was spent at Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN which was and still is a key organization for cultivating social movements in the U.S. Rosa Parks was there planning strategies six months before she was arrested, Dr. Martin Luther King spent time there. Highlander has dealt with coal mining issues, sea island literacy programs, and now has a focus on immigration issues.

We were fortunate to have been hosted by Guy and Candie Carawan; principals at Highlander, musicians and long-time activists. What a privilege to have walked around the site where such important human rights work has been fostered and to meet this dynamic couple that have been witnesses and catalysts to history.

Thank you, Dr. Fleming.

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