January 26, 2017
OHS to Debut "Struggle & Hope" Documentary on Oklahoma's All-Black Towns
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) will debut the documentary “Struggle & Hope,” which chronicles the unique story of Oklahoma’s All-Black towns. The film will premiere at the Oklahoma History Center at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 16, 2017, with doors opening at 6 p.m. The showing will be free to the public, courtesy of the OHS Black Heritage Committee. The filmmaker, Kari Barber, will attend and be available for questions. After the showing there will be a panel discussion about the history and challenges of the towns and the making of the documentary with Barber, Boley Municipal Judge Henrietta Hicks, OHS board member and Clearview resident Shirley Nero, historian Bruce Fisher and musician and Taft native Dr. Harold Aldridge.
Among the wealth of untold stories in American history is the rise and slow disappearance of the All-Black towns that emerged following the Civil War. Founded in an effort to convince the United States to create an All-Black state in what is modern-day Oklahoma, most of these towns now have been swallowed up by nearby counties and cities, or are clinging heroically to life. “Struggle & Hope” mines the stories of the last remaining residents of these towns, while charting their fight to ensure their towns retain independence, character and hope for a better future.
Kari Barber is a journalist-turned-filmmaker who has worked on documentaries in a variety of roles, including researching and reporting for two documentaries for the PBS show “Frontline.” Barber’s directorial debut, “Baking Alaska,” won best short documentary at several festivals including the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and was an official selection of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and a dozen more. Barber grew up in central Oklahoma and studied journalism at the University of Oklahoma before pursuing a career as an international reporter based in Southeast Asia and West Africa. She earned a master of fine arts in film at American University in Washington, D.C. She is currently assistant professor of electronic media at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.