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Freedom Summer revisits Mississippi’s voting rights history

Award-winning filmmaker credits his career to those who risked their lives for change
 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

An oft-overlooked but important part of the Civil Rights Movement is the focus of Freedom Summer, which premiers on American Experience Tuesday, June 24 and will be shown locally on TPT Channel 2 at 8 pm. Bob Moses, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) local secretary, came up with a plan in 1964 to bring over 700 student volunteers, mostly from the North, to the South for a 10-week stint during the summer to help locals fighting for voting rights for Blacks in Mississippi. That state’s Black registered voters were less than seven percent at that time compared to 50-70 percent in other southern states. Later known as “Freedom Summer,” the Mississippi Summer Project was also intended “to force the media and the country to take notice of the shocking violence and massive injustice taking place in Mississippi.” Sadly, the country did take notice as, after a week into the program’s start, three volunteers went missing and were later found brutally murdered. Moses, NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond and U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton are among the 32 individuals filmmaker Stanley Nelson interviews in Freedom Summer. Continue Reading →

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Documentaries detail sacrifices of Freedom Riders

Freedom Riders is the powerful harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along the way, sorely testing their belief in nonviolent activism. The documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till), airs on Tuesday, June 17 at 8 pm and Wednesday, June 18 at 2 am on TPT. Check back for a full interview with Stanley Nelson, who also directed Freedom Summer, which premiers on TPT June 24. Continue Reading →

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Despite its success, AfroPoP series still faces challenges

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

AfroPoP, the successful public television program that shows independent films and documentaries “on contemporary life, art and pop culture across the African Diaspora” is now in its sixth season. “If you would have told me that we were going to have six seasons, I probably would’ve said, ‘I need to get through this first one, I can’t think that far ahead,” jokes Co-Executive Producer Leslie Fields-Cruz.  She also is National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) vice president of operations and director of programming. The NBPC was founded in 1979. AfroPoP is produced by NBPC and co-presented by American Public Television (APT), and shown on the PBS World channel.  Beginning in February, however APT will distribute AfroPoP to additional public television

stations. As a result, TPT Life Channel 2.3 now airs the program on Saturday nights (check local listings for times). Continue Reading →

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PBS commemorates television show that featured the best in gospel music

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Over the course of three decades, the late Sid Ordower brought the greats and some-to-be greats in gospel music each week on local Chicago television. The likes of Albertina Walker, Mahalia Jackson, Mavis Staples — along with her sisters and their father, James Cleveland, and Otis Clay routinely appeared on Jubilee Showcase, a half-hour long show that ran from 1963-1984. Beginning November 30 and throughout the month of December, PBS will air a 50th anniversary commemorative television special on Jubilee Showcase, said his son Steve Ordower in a recent MSR phone interview. “He was an owner-operator [of his shows], which was pretty rare back in those days,” he explains. “Unfortunately, the first 13 episodes were erased, and he was livid. Continue Reading →

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Film documents a year of inner-city high school reality

Tanishia Williams Minor

A documentary on one year at an American high school will premiere on public television next week. 180 Days: A Year inside an American High School airs Monday-Tuesday, March 25-26, 8-10 pm on TPT Channel 2. Continue Reading →

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Black History Month Calendar of Events

Black History Month Calendar of Events
Through Wed., Feb. 6
 

Thursday, January 31
 

6:30-7:30 pm — My Soul Looks Back, Sumner Library, 611 Van White Mem. Blvd., Minneapolis

Celebrate Black History Month with songs, poetry and stories that give voice to the journeys and contributions of African Americans in American history. All ages welcome. This event is free; registration is requested. Continue Reading →

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‘Fierce urgency’ stressed at MLK Breakfast

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, told nearly 2,000 people attending the 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast January 21, “We need to wake up.” 

Specifically, she urged the sold-out audience at the Minneapolis Convention Center and the live TV audience watching on TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) to wake up to the consequences of failing to improve the educational disparities that pose dangerous implications for the future of our country: “Will the United States be a beacon or a blip in history? “We need to recognize that we have to invest now,” Edelman said, “and invest with urgency and with persistence so that we can give every child a chance to be able to function, work and contribute in this very complex, changing world and economy.”

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. In 1973 she founded the Children’s Defense Fund. Under her leadership, it has become one of the United States’ strongest advocates for children and families. Continue Reading →

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Now we’ll never know

 

 

GREEN BAY — The NFL’s most successful franchise, the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers, eliminated the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 Saturday before 71,548 fans and a national television audience on NBC at historic Lambeau Field. The Packers now advance to play San Francisco next Saturday in the Divisional round. The incredible 2,097-yard rushing potential MVP season of the great Adrian Peterson, for all intent and purpose, is now a footnote in history. Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers orchestrated the victory by going 23-33 for 274 yards and one touchdown. He used little running back DuJaun Harris, activated from the team’s development squad weeks ago, to keep the Vikings defense off balance. Continue Reading →

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A political Ponzi scheme: The fix was in with 2012 election

 

Shell-shocked Republicans are asking “What happened?” as they lick their wounds and offer recriminations and finger pointing regarding who to blame for losing the election. They are the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-like schemers, losers asking what happened. Were they suckers? Can they get a refund? It was like putting money in a paper bag and passing it to campaign collectors. Continue Reading →

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Vikings bounce back, beat Cardinals 21-14

 

Seven games into the 2012 season, the Vikings forged forward with a 21-14 hard-fought win over the Arizona Cardinals. Minnesota is now 5-2 and remained undefeated at home at 4-0. Sunday’s Mall of America Field sellout crowd of 61,068 was the largest of the season. They watched the incredible record-setting Adrian Peterson run for 153 yards and a determined 13-yard touchdown to lead the way. The Vikings bounced back on both sides of the ball from a rough week in Washington. Continue Reading →

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