During the 1960s, as the executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney Young Jr. was one of the few African-Americans who had the ears of those who controlled the levers of power: Fortune 500 CEOs, governors, senators and presidents. He used these relationships to gain better access to employment, education, housing and healthcare for African-Americans, other minorities and those in need. His unique position and approach earned him not only praise, but also scorn from the Black Power movement for being too close to the white establishment. While he is less known today than other leaders of the era because of the behind-the-scenes nature of his work, Youngs legacy and influence are still felt profoundly.
Ten years in the making, The Powerbroker is both a personal portrait of Young drawing on the reflections of family members and never-before-seen home movies, personal photographs and audio recordings and a historical chronicle of how he applied the social service mission of the Urban League to realize the rhetoric of the civil rights movement. The film features rare archival footage and exclusive interviews with an array of people who worked with Young and who have been shaped by his work, including the late Dorothy Height, Pulitzer Prize winner Manning Marable, John Hope Franklin, Ossie Davis, and Howard Zinn, as well as Julian Bond, Vernon Jordan, John Lewis, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Youngs biographer Dennis C. Dickerson, Donald Rumsfeld, Ramsey Clark, and others.
A community discussion will follow the screening. Panelists for the discussion include Dr. Gordon Morgan, who is noted as the first African-American graduate from the University of Arkansas, and Dr. Calvin White, assistant professor of history and program director at the University of Arkansas Additional information is available by calling AETN at 800-662-2386 or visiting aetn.org/communitycinema.
The Powerbroker: Whitney Youngs Fight for Civil Rights will air on AETN Monday, Feb. 18, at 9 p.m.
Community Cinema, a free monthly screening series engaging communities through films produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), features monthly screenings followed by panel discussions with leading organizations, local communities and special guest speakers. The program is designed to help people learn about and get involved in the social issues raised in the documentaries.
The Fayetteville Public Librarys mission is to strengthen the community, empower citizens with free and public access to knowledge, inspire imagination, foster learning, be powerfully relevant and be completely accessible. Additional information is available at faylib.org.