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Press Release

December 27, 2019

Contact: Angela Spindle
Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-0317

Oklahoma History Center to Host Oklahoma African American Family Film Festival

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society’s Black Heritage Committee will present the Oklahoma African American Family Film Festival and workshop at the Oklahoma History Center on Saturday, February 15, from noon to 5 p.m. This event will include a presentation of videos, films and, in some cases, raw, unedited footage that document the history and culture of the African American experience in Oklahoma. The event will also feature Oklahoma filmmakers and films pertaining to the Sooner State. There will be two screening rooms for the festival within the Oklahoma History Center — one called the “Aldridge Theatre” and one called the “Jewel Theatre.”

The Oklahoma Film + Music Office will also give a presentation about their consistent efforts to grow the film and music industries statewide. Learn more at okfilmmusic.org.

The majority of the films that will be showcased are inaugural efforts by Oklahomans interested in the state’s African American history and culture. During the event, attendees can view the trailer for the new film “Black Wall Street Burning” (2020) and meet its creators, Dekoven Riggins and Marcus E. Brown.

Featured films include:
– “A Cavalcade of Opportunity: Black Firefighters in OKC” (c. 1991), hosted by B. J. Glover

– “Clearview, A Town of History, Searching for its Future,” produced by BC Productions in Salida, Calif.

– “I. W. Lane: Blacks Right to Vote,” a 1969 high school project that includes rare interview with Hellen Lane Wilson, Lane’s granddaughter

– “Collective Visions: A History of African American Women in Oklahoma, 1833 to 1921,” produced by Dr. Dorscine Spignear Littles

– “Inside Buffalo: The Story of African American WWII Soldiers of the 92nd Division” by Italian Fred Kuwornu

The “Inside Buffalo” documentary includes President Bill Clinton’s White House ceremony honoring seven Medal of Honor soldiers. Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers from Tecumseh, Oklahoma, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. This medal is currently on display at the Oklahoma History Center.

Historical theatrical performances include:
– “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” (WPA Federal Writers’ Project), a radio play originally broadcast on KOMA on November 26, 1938. In 2004 it was revised and directed by Sharon Fisher.

– “Brown Skin Rich Girl: The Story of Sarah Rector,” written by Kathleen Watkins and directed by Alan Washington. In 1913 this 11-year-old girl from Taft, Oklahoma, was declared “the richest Colored girl in America.”

The OHS is still accepting submissions for the film festival. If you have an interesting film or short cell phone video footage that you would like to submit for consideration, please contact Angela Spindle at aspindle@okhistory.org or 405-522-0317. The festival is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City.

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 .


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