Civil rights documentary screening set for Feb. 11

Penn State Law is hosting a screening of "The Memphis 13: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement’s Smallest Pioneers" at 5 p.m. Feb. 11, in the Greg Sutliff Auditorium, Lewis Katz Building, University Park, and the Apfelbaum Family Courtroom and Auditorium, Lewis Katz Hall, Carlisle, Pa. The public is welcome and a discussion will follow in both locations.

The film features interviews with 13 African-American students who, in 1961, walked into what had been an all-white school in Memphis, Tenn. The documentary also includes interviews with their families as well as students, teachers and leaders who lived through the experience. 

“In 1954, the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education, which held racial segregation in public education unconstitutional, but the court’s subsequent enforcement decision in Brown II left much room for public schools to evade Brown I’s mandate,” said Carla Pratt, professor of law at Penn State, who teaches and writes in the area of race and the law and is one of the organizers of the event.

“When we got to the school it was completely surrounded with police, police everywhere, lined up the sidewalk from the curb to the building they were on and on. They said the nastiest things — police now — said the nastiest things to me and my daughter as we walked up to the school door,” said the Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles in a 2011 interview with WKNOFM. Kyles, who is in the film, walked his daughter into her first-grade classroom on Oct. 3, 1961.

This event is sponsored by the Black Law Students Association and the Law School Diversity Committee in honor of Black History Month. 

Contacts: 

Ellen Foreman

Work Phone: 
814-865-9030
Last Updated February 07, 2013