The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America
As part of the City’s Black History Month festivities, the Palladium is proud to host the showing of this special award-winning documentary and talk by Emmy-nominated journalist and filmmaker Clennon L. King. Here is an excerpt about King and the film from an article by Cori Urban, appearing in Masslive.com:
“Clennon L. King was working as a television news reporter and anchor in Florida when he interviewed a woman about her tabletop book about the oldest city in the United States: St. Augustine. He asked her why there were no photographs of African American people, no mention of the historic visit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and no information on the turbulent 18-month battle there for civil rights.
She told him that “just wasn’t the angle.”
King – no relation to the slain civil rights leader – said it seemed as if African Americans and the pivotal battle that directly led to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 “had been wiped from the hard drive of the history of that city.”
A second experience helped to propel King to make the documentary: An African American woman approached him at a grocery store and told him she was a high school teacher concerned that her school was “watering down” Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and she thought it was a shame. She had been told it was not celebrated because “he didn’t have anything to do with Florida.”
Clennon King – whose father was an attorney for the Civil Rights leader – knew better and decided to move forward with the documentary because if the “most valuable assets,” children, were being entrusted to schools that did not know about his role in Florida, they would not learn about it there. “I had to do the story,” he said.
It took him 13 years, but “I knew I had a special responsibility to move on this,” he said. “In the racially-charged atmosphere America now finds itself in, this film is both timely and relevant – giving us a chance to mark history, so as not to repeat it.”
In the spring and early summer of 1964, St. Augustine made headline news throughout the world and “proved pivotal in passing the landmark Civil Rights Act of ’64,” said King said. “The irony is there is little evidence that the campaign ever happened, which is why producing the film was so vital.”
The film earned The Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival.
Free and open to the public.
Film will be followed by talk and Q&A
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