September 22, 2014  

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Katrina Research Center Receives Grant for Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle Film Screenings

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The Katrina Research Center (KRC) at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus has been awarded a grant to mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. Through the grant, the KRC will provide scholarly presentations and exhibit four documentaries with riveting new footage illustrating the history of civil rights in America.

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. NEH has partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop programmatic and support materials for the sites.

The KRC will present the discussions and film in spring 2014. Scholarly presentations will include Dr. James Pat Smith of Southern Miss discussing the Biloxi Beach wade-ins, Dr. Emily Clark of Tulane University discussing her new book “The Strange History of the American Quadroon: Free Women of Color in the Revolutionary Atlantic World,” and Dr. Kern Jackson of the University of South Alabama discussing segregated Mardi Gras balls.

“The KRC is very pleased to receive a grant from NEH and be selected as a host site for programming involved with the Created Equal film set,” said Shugana Williams, KRC librarian and project director of the grant. “These films chronicle the long and sometimes violent effort to achieve the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—for all Americans. This is an important program to encourage the public to discuss openly the meaning of freedom and equality in the United States through the use of scholarly films and presentations.”

The KRC is one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. The powerful documentaries, The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story, include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all.  Freedom Riders received an Emmy in 2012, and The Loving Story and The Abolitionists have been nominated for Emmys in 2013. 

Each of the films was produced with NEH support, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. Created Equal programs bring communities together to revisit our shared history and help bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American civic life.

The Created Equal film set 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.

The Katrina Research Center is located on the third floor of the library on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. For more information, contact the Katrina Research Center at 228.214.3423 or email krc@usm.edu. Visit www.neh.gov/created-equal for more information on the Created Equal programs.