Over the next two academic years, Bryn Mawr College will host events highlighting four powerful documentary films (The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story) as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities initiative to mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The initiative, titled Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. Bryn Mawr’s events will feature panel discussions with academics, civil rights activists, and others who have researched and/or experienced firsthand the issues raised by the films.
There will be one event each semester over the next two academic years. Programming for the first event is currently being planned and details will be announced in the weeks ahead.
Deeply grounded in humanities scholarship, these films tell a remarkable story about the importance of race in the making of American democracy; the power of individuals to effect change; and the historical contexts in which Americans have understood and struggled with ideas of freedom, equality, and citizenship.
The documentaries address events from the 1800s through 1965, and several themes resonate among these films: the search for equal rights as defined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; the roles of individuals and grassroots groups in bringing about a more just society; and the evolving understanding of democracy and freedom in the history of the United States.
The Created Equal film series 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.
Outreach and Educational Technology Librarian Olivia Castello spearheaded the grant application for the College.