325 Highland Avenue
near Oakland Avenue Piedmont
Jan 16 in Piedmont; also Jan 19 at 12:30 pm in Oakland at The New Parkway Theater, 474 24th Street, between Telegraph and Broadway
Of all the divisions in America, none is as insidious and destructive as racism. The Appreciating Diversity Film Series’ first program of 2020 is the powerful documentary, The Long Shadow, which traces the history of slavery from the country’s founding, up through its ties to racism today.
Director Frances Causey and Producer Sally Holst, both privileged daughters of the South, were haunted by their families’ slave-owning pasts. They grew up in a time when white superiority was rarely questioned, and challenging this norm was often met with deadly consequences. Rejecting the oft-told romanticized version of early U.S. history, they embarked on a journey of hidden truths and the untold stories of how America – driven by the South’s powerful political influence – steadily, deliberately and with great stealth, established white privilege in our institutions, laws, culture and economy.
By telling individual stories—of free, enterprising blacks in Canada and of a modern, racially motivated shooting—the filmmakers movingly personalize the costs and the stakes of our continued inaction. The Long Shadow presents a startling, unrecognized history that provides much-needed context when considering the major issues affecting black/white relations in the United States today.
William Faulkner once said, “The past is never dead. The past is not even past.” Or as one scholar warns in the film: “We’re still fighting the Civil War, and the South is winning.” Anti-black racism has survived like “an infection,” rigging the game against African-Americans and denying them full access to the American dream.
The Long Shadow is a masterful film that captures the disturbing but necessary story of the enduring human cost of prejudice and ignorance in the U.S. that continues to cast a long shadow over our national identity, our values, and, ultimately, our celebrated democracy.
Free/no RSVP needed.