Filmmaker Keith Beauchamp to discuss successes, failures of civil rights movement
January 23, 2007
Civil rights activist and documentary filmmaker Keith Beauchamp will discuss “Race in the South: What the Civil Rights Movement Did and Did Not Accomplish” at Wake Forest University at 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in Brendle Recital Hall.
Beauchamp wrote and directed “The Untold Story of Emmet Louis Till,” a documentary about Emmet Till, a 14-year-old black youth who was murdered in Mississippi by two white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The film, which tells the story of the Till family’s agony and reveals evidence surrounding the case, is credited for stirring the U.S. Justice Department to reopen the case 50 years after Till’s death. Beauchamp is also credited for rekindling the nation’s consciousness of its racial history.
The documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in Benson University Center’s Pugh Auditorium in conjunction with the Feb. 8 lecture. Both the film and lecture are free and open to the public.
As a young boy, Beauchamp came across the Emmett Till story while looking through an issue of Jet magazine. In 1996, he began researching the case on his own and uncovered the names of witnesses who had never testified and articles referencing uncharged participants in the murder. He began working closely with Mamie Till Mobley, Emmett Till’s mother, to get the case reopened and for nine years he investigated, researched and interviewed key witnesses in the case. The case was reopened in May 2004. Unfortunately, Mobley did not live to see it come to pass.
While growing up in the racially tense south, Beauchamp said he was constantly reminded not to let what happened to Emmett Till happen to him. As a young man in 1989, he claims he was beaten by an undercover police officer for dancing with a white girl and says that this experience is what made him realize the United States was still plagued with racial problems.
Today, Beauchamp continues to work on other film projects and uses his work to teach future generations to learn from their history.
The film and lecture are part of the “For Whose Humanity?” film and speaker series sponsored by Wake Forest’s Pro Humanitate Center and the university’s “Voices of Our Time” series. Beauchamp’s visit is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment.
For more information, visit www.wfu.edu/lectureseries or call (336) 758-6075.