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TOPIC: Civil Rights

Filmmakers Marco Williams and Stanley Nelson Tell an Essential Chapter of American History in Story of HBCUs

Tell Them We Are Rising, which premieres on Independent Lens on PBS Monday, February 19 at 9 pm [check local listings], covers the rich history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from before the end of slavery through a flourishing in the 20th century to today, and how they profoundly influenced the course of … READ MORE

How “I Am Not Your Negro” Filmmaker Reopened James Baldwin’s “House”

The worldly Haitian-born filmmaker Raoul Peck and his family fled the Duvalier dictatorship in 1961 and found asylum in the Democratic Republic of Congo, before Peck finished his schooling in the United States, France, and Germany. Currently living in both France and the U.S., Peck has been given numerous Human Rights Watch awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in … READ MORE

9 Great Documentaries About Women Activists

As Women’s History Month continues, we’re shining the spotlight on women activists who faced down injustice, pioneered paths for other women and girls, or have fought heroically trying to save the world. Although the women on this list focused on different arenas, in the end they’re all inevitably linked. As feminist icon Gloria Steinem wrote … READ MORE

Dawn Porter Unlocks the Story of Laws Targeting Abortion Providers

Filmmaker Dawn Porter has shown a willingness to probe uncomfortable truths and untold stories in the past. LA Times critic Robert Lloyd called her acclaimed Independent Lens film Spies of Mississippi “eye-opening” for its look at the ways civil rights activists were spied on by the government in the ’50s and ’60s. For her new film, TRAPPED, Porter returns to the … READ MORE

Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter Quiz

It was 50 years ago that the Black Panther Party, originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was formed in Oakland, California by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. The Black Panther Party organized armed citizens’ patrols to monitor the behavior of local police and to challenge police brutality in Oakland. As detailed in Stanley Nelson’s film The Black … READ MORE

Stanley Nelson Reveals the Real Black Panther Party

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson, who won an Emmy for the PBS documentary The Murder of Emmett Till, three Emmys for Freedom Riders, and made an acclaimed film about Marcus Garvey, has for years aimed his probing but fair-minded lens on civil rights history. Along the way he realized he hadn’t really seen a film that covered the full and fascinating … READ MORE

The Black Panthers Pandora Mixtape

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution will be televised on Independent Lens February 16 at 9 pm [check local listings] but you can plug in, turn on, and get down ahead of time with our curated Pandora Mixtape. The set joins the politically charged soul music of the ’60s and 70’s with post-Panther era R&B and hip-hop that … READ MORE

Renee Tajima-Peña on the Women of the Madrigal vs Quilligan Case

Filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary for her film Who Killed Vincent Chin?, which aired on PBS back in 1989. She’s hardly sat still since then; her films have premiered at Sundance, Cannes, San Francisco International, New Directors/New Films, Toronto, the Whitney Biennial and other festivals around the world. And as she … READ MORE

Filmmaker Discusses Daisy Bates and Black History Month

Independent Lens is kicking off Black History Month this week with Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock (premieres Thursday, February 2 at 10pm in some markets; check local listings). We caught up with filmmaker Sharon La Cruise to talk about how she came to the project, and why so many people have never heard … READ MORE