History faculty member Komozi Woodard to facilitate discussions of civil rights films; screenings at Yonkers Riverfront Library

History faculty member Komozi Woodard will join with the Yonkers Public Library in presenting Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a series of riveting documentary films that use gripping new footage to illustrate the history of civil rights in America. This four-part series of screenings and discussion forums is planned to promote dialogue about these chapters in our nation’s story and their effects on the Yonkers community. Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history.

The first free film discussion program will take place on Saturday, February 8 at 2 p.m. in the Community Room (2nd floor) at the Yonkers Riverfront Library, and will feature the compelling documentary Slavery by Another Name. The film relates the incredible untold story of a huge system of forced, unpaid labor, mostly affecting southern black men, that lasted until World War II. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name tells the stories of men, charged with petty crimes and often guilty of nothing, who were bought and sold, abused, and subjected to sometimes deadly working conditions as unpaid convict labor. Extensive clips from the film will be shown, followed by lively discussion facilitated by Dr. Woodard. The screening and discussion series will continue with Dr. Woodard’s participation on the following dates at 2 p.m. in the Community Room (2nd floor):

  • Saturday, March 1 – Freedom Riders
  • Saturday, March 22 – Latino Americans: Prejudice and Pride
  • Saturday, April 5 – Brick by Brick

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle 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. Visit www.neh.gov/created-equal for more information.

Riverfront Library Branch Administrator Susan Thaler said, “We are thrilled to receive this grant from NEH to provide programming and to make this important film series available to the public. In light of Yonkers’ complicated civil rights history, the themes explored in the screenings and discussions are expected to resonate deeply within our community.”

In addition to the film screenings and discussions, the Riverfront Library Children’s Department will host two specially-developed story times in February highlighting the values of freedom, equality, bravery, and cooperation on Tuesday, February 11 at 10:30 am (for children ages 3 to 6) and on Tuesday, February 18 at 2 p.m. (for children ages 7 to 12).

The Yonkers Riverfront Library is located at One Larkin Center, across from the Yonkers Metro-North Station. The library is handicapped accessible. Parking is available at the nearby Buena Vista Parking Garage or the Warburton Parking Garage. For additional information or to RSVP for any of these events, call (914) 375-7966 or visit the library’s Web site at www.ypl.org.

Additional support for the film and discussion series is provided by the City of Yonkers and Mayor Mike Spano, the Yonkers YWCA, the Yonkers NAACP, and Sarah Lawrence College.