National Archives Hosts Screening and Program on Solomon Northup’s Odyssey

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Director Gordon Parks’ film predates 12 Years a Slave by 30 years!

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Washington, DC…On Thursday, May 20 at 6 p.m., the National Archives hosts a screening and discussion of Gordon Parks’ Solomon Northup's Odyssey. The screening marks the kick-off to this year’s March on Washington Film Festival, an annual series of films and discussions related to civil rights and social justice. This event is free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance, located on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW. The building is fully accessible. Metro: Yellow or Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station.

Directed by legendary African American director and cinematographer Gordon Parks, Solomon Northup's Odyssey was first shown in 1984 as part of PBS's American Playhouse series, predating the Oscar®–winning film 12 Years a Slave by three decades. The film features Avery Brooks in the title role. This recently preserved print was made from a 16mm negative discovered in the vaults of the New York's DuArt film laboratory. The restoration of the film was underwritten by the March on Washington Film Festival and the Ford Foundation.

Following the screening, Warrington Hudlin, founder of the Black Filmmaker Foundation and curator of the event, will lead a discussion including Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Preston Holmes, author of the adapted screenplay, William Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut, and Esther Armah, playwright, radio host and political commentator.

Related about the National Archives’ staff connection to Solomon Northup!

The National Archives’ Pieces of History blog details a National Archives staff connection to Solomon Northup. Read this staffer’s fascinating personal account.

Related new David M. Rubenstein "Records of Rights" Exhibit

The new permanent exhibit at the National Archives, "Records of Rights," uses original documents, photographs, facsimiles, videos, and interactive exhibits to explore how Americans have worked to realize the ideals of freedom enshrined in our nation’s founding documents and how they have debated issues such as citizenship, free speech, voting rights, and equal opportunity. Exploring many stories—and showcasing the drive for civil rights for African Americans, women, and immigrantsthe new exhibition chronicles the past and current generations whose efforts to secure equality under the law have shaped the country we live in today.

To verify the date and times of the programs, call the National Archives Public Programs Line at: 202 357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online.

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