January 18, 2016

East Central College will mark Black History Month with a free screening of the documentary Banished  Friday evening, February 26.

Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town in America examines a hidden side of America’s racial history, focusing on examples of primarily white communities rising up to force their African-American neighbors to flee in post-reconstruction America. The incidents took place in Texas, Missouri, Georgia and Indiana between 1886 and 1923.  In the documentary filmmaker Marco Williams follows three African American families who returned to the communities to confront this legacy.

In Forsyth County, Georgia, where a thousand black residents were expelled, the film explores the question of land fraudulently taken, and follows some descendants in their quest to uncover the real story of their family’s land. In Pierce City, Missouri, a man designed his own creative form of reparation — wishing to disinter the remains of his great-grandfather who was buried there before the banishment. In Harrison, Arkansas, home to the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan, a white community struggles with their town’s legacy of hate.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the John Edson Anglin Performing Arts Center on ECC’s campus in Union. Guest speakers Dr. Keon Gilbert, assistant professor of behavioral science and health education at St. Louis University’s College for Public Health and Social Justice, and Murray Bishoff, the editor of The Monett Times​ in southwest Missouri, will introduce the film.

Gilbert has done extensive research in the For the Sake of All project, which traces the effects of segregation in St. Louis on African Americans’ health and well-being. Bishoff has researched and written about the violent expulsion of African Americans in Pierce City. He will bring a large display he has created that documents the events.

ECC’s Patron of the Arts program provides financial support for the film and lecture series at the college. For more information contact leigh.kolb@eastcentral.edu or call 636-584-6643.





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