THE PREP SCHOOL NEGRO and THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE April 15
THE PREP SCHOOL NEGRO
Andre Lee (USA, 2011) 60 minutes. English. Genre: documentary.
André Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre's way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated.
THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE
S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf (USA, 2012) 67 minutes. English. Genre: documentary.
There is a heaven side and a hell side: which side will you be on? July 1865. Over 4 million slaves have been freed. Forced to roam the antebellum countryside, many of them are ill prepared and unable to cope with the realities of their newfound freedom. This documentary examines a little known aspect of American history, when newly freed slaves throughout the South formed "benevolent societies" to respond to the abject hunger, illness and the fear of a pauper's grave.
The documentary, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, sets the stage in rural Alabama, prior to Emancipation, and traces the development, struggles, contributions and gradual loss of tradition of one of the last remaining African American benevolent societies, known as "The Fair Hope Benevolent Society" in Uniontown, Alabama.
Through gripping human stories of some of the last surviving society members and interviews with historians and local residents, the film provides an unprecedented look at the complex and morally ambiguous world of Fair Hope juxtaposed against the worldly pleasures of what has become known as the annual "Foot Wash" celebration.
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