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February 23, 2021

Classroom Resource: Regina King’s directorial debut examines meeting of civil rights voices

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Directions: Watch the short video clip, read the summary below and then answer the discussion questions. To read a transcript of the video, click here.

Summary: In her directorial debut, renowned actor Regina King’s new film explores a 1960s gathering of four famous friends — Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke, who debated their work and responsibilities as Black men. The film depicts vulnerable conversations in which the group reflects on struggles as Black men in in the spotlight during the Civil Rights era in America.

  • One Night in Miami became the first film directed by an African American woman ever to be screened at the Venice film festival.
  • King said of what drew her to the story, “It is a representation of men that I know and love and the type of conversations that they’re having and that they don’t get an opportunity to see themselves in cinema that often look and feel the way they feel in real life.”

Discussion:

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who are the four historical figures played in the film?
  • What was the significance of the Civil Rights movement? Why did it occur?
  • When and where does the film take place?
  • Why did Regina King choose to focus on these four men?
  • How is King making history through this film?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. How do you think Regina King intended the conversation among these men in the 1960s to reflect on civil rights struggles today?

Media literacy: What else would you want to know about King’s film that wasn’t covered in this short video clip?

Dig Deeper: Students can watch the film and write a short review, focusing on ways the film is meant to reflect questions of civil rights and equality that are relevant to current civil rights struggles.

This lesson was prepared by Aileen Delgado, a high school senior at Miami Lakes Education Center, and edited by Luke Gerwe, EXTRA’s editor. 


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