ACT announced today it will host a program on Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m., entitled "School Integration Revisited." The event will be heldat the Altadena Baptist Church, located at 791 East Calaveras Street, Altadena, CA. The program is free and the public is welcomed and encouraged to attend.
The program will begin with the West Coast premiere of "The Memphis 13." This 35-minute documentary film tells the story of 13 African-American first graders entering four, formerly all-white, elementary schools, ending the practice of segregation in the Memphis City Schools in 1961. The film features interviews with all 13 pioneering families, as well as white students, a teacher and civil rights leaders.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion comparing the experience of those 13 Memphis first graders 50 years ago, with the human side of the implementation of the Pasadena Plan, a decade later. The panel will also consider the continuing challenges faced by today's society in providing equitable education opportunities to communities that are racially, economically and linguistically diverse.
Daniel Kiel, the film's director, writer and executive producer, is a law professor at The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. "I am thrilled to be able to bring this largely unknown story of some of the youngest pioneers of the civil rights movement to the LA area," Kiel said. "One of the goals I had in making the film was to spark dialogue, and I look forward not only to sharing it with a new audience, but also to learning from those who were trailblazers in their own communities."
Panelists will include Kiel, Cameron Turner, who was a student during Pasadena's desegregation, Al Lowe, a PUSD school board member during Pasadena desegregation, and Dr. Peter Dreier, E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College. The panel will be moderated by local attorney Carolyn Carlburg.
Event organizer and ACT member John McLean said, "ACT has a proud history as an advocate for education rights. While our role in the community is primarily political, we also have a mission to educate and to foster productive dialogue on contemporary progressive issues. This event will further that mission."
ACT (www.actpasadena.org) is the oldest progressive grass-roots political action group in the Foothills, and one of the most effective. For 40 years, ACT has been fighting for progressive ideals at the city, state and national levels.