HBCUs Impact On American History Underlined In New Movie

A new documentary shows the importance of HBCUs in American History.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been around for over 170 years now and their importance and impact on the Black community and the nation overall have gone untold. Stanley Nelson’s upcoming movie “Tell Them We Are Rising” emphasizes the influence of HBCUs on the history of America. We put together some important information about the film from the following sources:

Indie Wire

Titled “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” the PBS documentary (and multimedia project) will dig into the significance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in American history, culture, and national identity, via the many stories from HBCU students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The documentary will tell stories of Americans who would not be denied a higher education, demonstrating how the 150-year history of HBCUs have influenced generations of Americans and shaped the landscape of the country.

Nelson is producing the feature documentary via his Firelight Films production company, and directing alongside fellow documentarian Marco Williams.

“One of the goals of the ’Tell Them We Are Rising’ project is to create a space for collaborative storytelling,” Williams says.

“To tell this important and complex story, it is essential that our documentary highlights personal accounts, letters, diaries, photographs, and even home movies of the people who have lived the HBCU experience,” Nelson adds. See more

The Huffington Post

Acclaimed documentarian Stanley Nelson wanted to emphasize that in his forthcoming film “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” Nelson, who is the product of two HBCU graduates, told The Huffington Post that a film focusing on HBCUs has been long overdue.

“HBCUs have been instrumental in this country. Our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, there was no other place they could go to school,” he said. “This is the cornerstone of the African-American community. And I think that most people don’t know anything about it.”

The documentary explained the factors that led to the inception of HBCUs and broke down some the challenges and triumphs these institutions have faced over the years.

Nelson’s team tapped alumni, professors, and current students to get a full scope on the societal and cultural impact of HBCUs. Nelson said he knew, however, that it would be impossible to tell the entire story with just a two-hour film. So he added an accompanying digital yearbook on the film’s website in which students and graduates can tell their personal stories and experiences at historically black colleges and universities.

One thing Nelson said stood out to him while interviewing subjects for the film was the notion that HBCUs have always served as a safe space for black thought.

“The sit-in movement wasn’t gonna come out of Yale or somewhere else. It had to come out of black schools,” he said. “I think that’s really important that we understand that it’s a very different thing that if you were at a majority white school where you might have a little table at the lunch room, if that, and it’s hard to talk about issues that affect the African-American community. We are the majority for once and it’s not [at] church. We are the majority where people are talking about ideas.”

Through the film and interactive components, Nelson told HuffPost that he hopes “Tell Them We Are Rising” reaffirms the relevance and impact of HBCUs. These institutions opened up doors to quality education, cultural confidence and camaraderie that many black people wouldn’t have been able to receive otherwise. As campus racism continues to exist at predominantly white schools across the country, Nelson said there is undoubtedly still a need to tell the story of historically black colleges and universities. See more

It’s a brilliant idea for Stanley Nelson to make a movie showing the importance of HBCUs in our country. Historically Black Colleges and Universities have created great learning environments for Black people in America allowing to transfer knowledge and skills and, what is more important, gain confidence in the African-American youth. The film which premieres in fall 2017, is a magnum opus and a must watch for all.

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