Black History Movie Night

In honor of Multicultural Week and Black History Month, Glenville State College will be showing movies inspired by true historical events that involve African Americans. Black History Month is a time to recognize the struggles and achievements of African Americans from slavery through the Civil Rights movement and to the present day.

The Untold Story of Emmet Louis Till will be shown on Tuesday, February 5 at 5 p.m. The film is a documentary about the murder of Emmet Till which won the Freedom of Expression award given by the National Board of Review, USA, and was nominated for the Black Reel , the Golden Trailor, and the Image awards. Till was a 14-year-old African American who was brutally murdered for whistling at a white woman in Sumner, Mississippi, where he was visiting family.  Men in the town took it upon themselves to teach Till a lesson. They kidnapped him, took him to a cotton gin and beat him, then to the river, where they shot him and threw him into the river tied to a fan blade from the cotton gin. Two of the murderers were charged with the murder, but an all-white, all-male jury acquited them despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt. The story continues to be a part of our national consciousness, inspiring parents of one of the Sandy Hook shooting victims to have an open casket at their child’s funeral, as Till’s mother did, so that people could see the horrific results of violencce.

On Thursday, February 7, the Oscar-nominated movie, Ghosts of Mississippi, about the assassination of  Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers will be shown at 5:30 p.m. Evers’ murder happened just hours after President John F. Kennedy’s speech in support of Civil Rights on June 12, 1963. The assassin, Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremecist, was tried twice for the murder. Again, an all-white, all-male jury refused to hold the murderer responsible – both trials resulted in hung jury. For the next 25 years, Evers widow, tried to bring De La Beckwith to justice, but since the evidence of both cases were lost, she had no chance. She got  the help of assistant District Attorney Bobby DeLaughter and brought De La Beckwith to his third trial. De La Beckwith was found guilty when DeLaughter brought in the autopsy report of Medgar’s exhumed body, which sent De La Beckwith to prison with a life sentence. Americans were reminded of this story when Evers’ widow, now Myrlie Evers Williams, gave the invocation at the second innauguration of President Barak Obama.

Both movies will be shown in room LY 16 in the basement of the Robert F. Kidd Library of Glenville State College. For more information about the movies or the date, you can contact Professor Arthur DeMatteo

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