With its roots in the work songs, hollers, and spirituals of generations of black field hands, blues music blossomed into an art form in its own right during the social and economic transformations of African-American life in the early 20th century.
Ma Rainey took the blues to a wider audience with traveling vaudeville shows, while Mamie Smith’s recordings broke down barriers for black artists of all musical genres.
Please join us in the Black Studies Center for the film Fruitvale Station.
This groundbreaking film provides an intimate look at the life of Oscar Grant in the days before he was killed by a BART station police officer in Oakland, Calif.
Join us for two screenings of award-winning documentaries focusing on the resilient people and natural wonder of Cuba.
On Thursday February 26, we will be screening The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, oil and food imports in Cuba dropped by more than half. This documentary details the hardships and showcases the creativity the Cuban people displayed as they struggled to overcome this exceptionally difficult period in their history.
Free film showing: Taking Woodstock
U.S., 2009, rated R, 121 minutes.
Ang Lee directed this story of behind-the-scenes dramas that made Woodstock happen.
The movie will be shown at 2 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.
Spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles, this program recounts the remarkable saga of how a nursery rhyme sung by the Gullah people of present-day Georgia was confirmed to be of African origin.
When 18th-century slavers sent human cargo from Sierra Leone to America’s coastal South, they also sent a trove of cultural information that had been passed from Mende mothers to their daughters for generations—including a particular song that had been carefully preserved because it was used in funeral rites.
Between 1860 and 1920, hundreds of U.S. counties expelled their African-American residents. The pattern was horrifically similar in almost all cases: a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman, was lynched, and then white rioters attacked black neighborhoods with guns and firebombs. After blacks fled for their lives, whites illegally assumed ownership of the abandoned property.
This March, in honor of Women's History Month, DC Public Library will be screening four documentaries directed by women at different libraries throughout DC. Watch the films and learn about the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.