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.
The screening will be held in the auditorium of William F. Laman Public Library, 2801 Orange Street, North Little Rock. Following the screening, Dr. Barclay Key of the UALR history department will lead a community discussion. Key has taught African-American History and the History of the American South at Western Illinois University and is the past recipient of a Fulbright Lecturing Award to Poland for 2009-2010.He is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled, The Colors of Confession: Racial Reconciliation during the Long Civil Rights Movement.
Community Cinema attendees are also invited to visit the librarys civil rights exhibit, For All the World to See: Visual Culture and Struggle for Civil Rights, which opened Jan. 28. Through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters and historic artifacts, the exhibit traces how images and media transformed the modern civil rights movement and jolted Americans, both black and white, out of states of denial or complacency.
Additional information about Community Cinema 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 mission of the William F. Laman Public Library is to maintain and improve the quality of life for the community by providing resources that enhance and contribute to literacy and foster community engagement with information, culture and civic life.
The mission of UALR Public Radio is to deepen insight into the human experience, empower decision-making and enrich the lives of those we serve through quality news and cultural programs. UALR Public Radio operates two radio stations in Little Rock KUAR FM 89.1, which broadcasts news, jazz and cultural programs including national programming from NPR, and KLRE 90.5, which broadcasts classical music.