"Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities" Premiered at UVI
As the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) was already in the mode of Black History Month celebration, the Pre-Screening of Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities hosted on both campuses on Monday, Feb. 19, was well received.
The 90-minute film drew large audiences including students, faculty and staff of the University, as well as members of the general public to both the Administration and Conference Center (ACC) Building on the St. Thomas Campus and in the Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. Many of whom were eager to view the film before it aired nationally on the acclaimed PBS series, Independent Lens later the evening at 8:30 p.m.
The pre-screening event was a part of a tour organized by HBCU Rising, the year-long multi-platform engagement project designed to drive dialogue sparked by the film among a variety of audiences. The film examines the impact HBCUs have had on American history, culture and national identity for more than 150 years.
The event was hailed as one of the best events the University has hosted to date by President David Hall. “This is something that speaks to what we are going through right now. Our theme coming out of the hurricanes has been “UVI RISE,” and this film is about how HBCU’s rise above all the negative forces that get in the way,” Hall said. “This is really a nice marriage between our reality and the HBCU journey.”
The President said that he was particularly pleased with comments made by the students after the film. “It was clear that it spoke to them in the way that I had envisioned, which is that it would inspire them to work harder and appreciate that they are a part of something even greater than what they might imagine,” he said.
Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities was praised by members of the audience for revealing for the first time the complex history of how HBCUs, havens for Black intellectuals, artists and trailblazers, offered a path of promise toward the American dream, educated the architects of freedom movements throughout the decades and cultivated leaders in every field.
The pre-screening event was a collaborative effort of UVI and WTJX.
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is the second in a three-part series called America Revisited that includes The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, which broke Nielsen ratings and social media engagement records for Independent Lens, and the forthcoming, The Slave Trade: Creating A New World.
Independent Lens is an Emmy Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00pm. The acclaimed series, with Lois Vossen as executive producer, features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers.