American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs screened at the Bronx Documentary Center in late July. Co-Founder Danielle Jackson shares her thoughts on the evening.
We first learned about the work of Grace Lee Boggs through our grant writer, Kelli Scarr, who sent us the information about the film over a year ago. She and I decided to read The Next American Revolution, and we thought of parallels in the work we do at the Bronx Documentary Center. We saw the screening when it first arrived in New York this spring, and I knew we should include it in our summer outdoor screening series.
The BDC is a photography gallery, so the the screening was part of our program series, The 60s: Decade of Change, which is based on our recent exhibition of the same name. The exhibition shows over 40 images by Benedict J. Fernandez, a pioneer in photography education who chronicled various protest movements, including events which have been forgotten by history. It was a great backdrop to consider the life and work of Grace Lee Boggs.
We were lucky to have a Q+A with director Grace Lee on Skype after the film! The audience was very curious about her process as a filmmaker and how her relationship with Boggs evolved over time. I asked Lee to help to clarify some of Boggs’ ideas about protest and her controversial idea of “living by the clock of the world. ” Lee concluded that massive protest is just one measure, and we invited the audience to think about small-scale change.
Often, our outdoors movies end quite late, but despite this people remained for another hour checking out the exhibition, meeting new neighbors and exchanging ideas. Small but sparkling conversations lit the entire room. A few men felt inspired to mentor teenage boys, another group discussed the need for rest and reflection, in the vein of Grace’s retreats in Maine. The screening was one of the most straightforward examples of using film to inspire action. We were happy to partner with POV in making it happen!
Founded in 2011, the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) is a non-profit gallery and educational space. Our mission is to share photography, film and new media with underserved Bronx communities and the cultural community at large. We use these mediums to foster dialogue around contemporary local, national and global issues. Through exhibitions, screenings, and public programming, we show the work of internationally renowned and emerging photographers and filmmakers who are dealing with themes that guide the BDC: justice, education and social progress.
Be sure to check out the Bronx Documentary Center at bronxdoc.org and @followbdc on Twitter. Want to host a screening of a POV film in your community? Join POV’s Community Network and gain access to over 80 POV films.