Learning about history through books is a wonderful way to be able to view a wide spectrum of events. In additional to hitting the books, my family tries to take advantage of the numerous local history opportunities. On May 9th the John Brown Lives! organization hosted its annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of abolitionist John Brown at the Lake Placid John Brown Farm and Gravesite.
To further bolster a local tie to freedom and civil rights, the Lake Placid Film Forum and John Brown Lives! are presenting films screenings of Selma and Timbuktu along with guest speakers at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.
While abolitionist John Brown attempted to start a movement, the movie “Selma” documents Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s successful crusade to secure equal voting rights. King’s first march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama started with 600 protesters on March 7. That event would later be referred to as “Bloody Sunday” when Alabama State Troopers blocked the unarmed protestors’ way over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. King’s nonviolent protest was met with tear gas and billy clubs and eventually televised around the world. Two more protests occurred when 25,000 civil rights sympathizers finally arriving in Montgomery with a federal escort.
North Country Public Radio’s Ellen Rocco will be at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts this Friday, May 15, will be available after the screening of “Selma” to discuss her own involvement in the 1965 protest.
The second film, Timbuktu will be shown on Sunday, May 17, and demonstrates that the quest for civil rights is still current today. The French film (with English subtitles) focuses on the brief occupation of Timbuktu, Mali. The film documents the struggle of the locals under the rule of religious fundamentalists. The people are powerless to the new regime where freedoms such as music and laughter are banned. A tragic accident leaves a shepherd to face the consequences of new laws he doesn’t understand.
Dr. Jean Ouédraogo, Author, Professor and Chair of Foreign Languages and Literature at Plattsburgh State University of New York, will lead the after film discussion.
There are plenty of other favorite places my family goes to see history in action such as historical reenactments, museums and local historical societies. This time the Lake Placid Film Forum has done the footwork for me by searching for the experts to answer any questions my kids can come up with. Enjoy!
Photo of the Selma multi-faith marchers courtesy of Paramount Pictures