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Thursday, January 23, 2014

  • "Cesar’s Last Fast": How Cesar Chavez Risked Death to Protect the Lives of Farmworkers He Championed

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    As farmworkers continue to fight for fair wages and safe working conditions across the United States, we look at the life of legendary organizer Cesar Chavez. In 1962, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, which would later become the United Farm Workers of America. He led the union for the next three decades and organized a series of historic strikes and boycotts. The new documentary "Cesar’s Last Fast" features never-before-seen footage of Chavez’s 36-day fast in 1988 to raise awareness about the dangers of pesticides in the field. We are joined by the film’s director, Richard Ray Perez, whose father was a farmworker laboring in the conditions Chavez fought to improve.

  • Freedom Summer: How Civil Rights Activists Braved Violence to Challenge Racism in 1964 Mississippi

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    Hundreds of people marched in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of Freedom Day. On Jan. 22, 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer and other civil rights activists marched around the Forrest County Courthouse in support of black voting rights. The rally was the beginning of a historic year in Mississippi. Months later, civil rights groups launched Freedom Summer. More than 1,000 out-of-state volunteers traveled to Mississippi to help register voters and set up what they called "Freedom Schools." Out of Freedom Summer grew the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party that challenged the legitimacy of the white-only Mississippi Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The period also saw the murders of three civil rights activists — Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. Events are being held across Mississippi in 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of this historic year. We are joined by Stanley Nelson, director of the new documentary, "Freedom Summer." An Emmy Award-winning MacArthur genius fellow, Nelson’s past films include "Freedom Riders" and "The Murder of Emmett Till."

  • Through a Lens Darkly: How African Americans Use Photography to Shape Their Cultural Representation

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    A new film explores how African-American communities have used the medium of photography to shape how they are represented. "Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People" is directed and produced by Thomas Allen Harris, who shares his own family’s history in the film. Allen Harris is also the creator of the related project, the Digital Diaspora Family Roadshow. Both were inspired in part by the book, "Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present" by Deborah Willis, who also produced the film. Allen Harris joins us from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where his movie is having its premiere.