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Civil rights struggle theme of film series

Monday, February 03, 2014

LAWRENCE — To introduce four documentaries with riveting new footage illustrating the history of the long civil rights struggle in America, the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas will offer a series of film screenings, lectures and discussion forums centered around the documentaries "Slavery By A Different Name," "The Freedom Riders," "The Abolitionists" and "The Loving Story."

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. NEH has partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop programming and support materials for the sites.

The Langston Hughes Center is one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the struggle for civil rights in America. The powerful documentaries 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" were nominated for Emmys in 2013. 

“These films chronicle the long and sometimes violent effort to achieve the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — for all Americans,” said Shawn Leigh Alexander, associate professor of African & African American Studies and director of the Langston Hughes Center. “We are pleased to receive a grant from NEH to provide programming around these films. The Created Equal series and discussions will be a tremendous opportunity to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America."

The 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. The Langston Hughes Center program is co-sponsored locally by the Dole Institute of Politics, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and the Department of African & African American Studies.

Spring 2014 schedule

“Slavery by Another Name”

Dole Institute of Politics: 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4 and Tuesday, Feb. 18

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area: Carnegie Library: 7 p.m. Feb. 4 and Tuesday, Feb. 11.


“Worse than Slavery:  Race, Violence and the Defining of the Nation in Post-Emancipation America,” Shawn Leigh Alexander, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, Carnegie Library.

March 2014

“Freedom Riders"

Dole Institute of Politics: 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 3, and Monday, March 10

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area: 7 p.m. March 3 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11


“The Congress of Racial Equality, the Freedom Riders and the Early Civil Rights Movement,” Clarence Lang, KU

7:30 pm Thursday, March 27, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, Carnegie Library

About the Langston Hughes Center

The Langston Hughes Center is an academic research and educational center that is building upon the legacy and creative and intellectual insight of African-American author, poet, playwright, folklorist and social critic, Langston Hughes. The Center coordinates, strengthens and develops teaching, research and outreach activities in African-American Studies, and the study of race and culture in American society at KU and throughout the region. The Center, therefore, acts as a hub of critical examination of black culture, history, literature, politics and social relations.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of American history. Programs include publications, teacher seminars, a national Affiliate School Program, traveling exhibitions, and online materials for teachers, students, and the general public. www.gilderlehrman.org.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places. www.neh.gov.

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