St. Pete to Screen Film about Bloody 1964 Civil Rights Campaign
The screening of Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America will help mark Black History Month.
ST. PETERSBURG – This city will help mark Black History Month with a special film presentation about the bloodiest campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement, chronicling events based in Florida.
The St. Petersburg Library System will host a screening of the award-winning, hour-long film, Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America, at 6 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 28) at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N. Free and open to the public, the screening will be followed by a conversation and question and answer session with Boston-based filmmaker and Emmy-nominated journalist Clennon L. King.
The documentary film is about the little-known, but turbulent St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement which dominated the headlines in 1963-64 during the push for desegregation in the nation’s oldest city. Learn more and view the film trailer online at passageatstaugustine.com.
“Often people only associate the Civil Rights Movement with Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia,” said King, a former Florida TV reporter and correspondent for the St. Petersburg-based Florida Trend magazine. “But the truth is that the most violent and transformative campaign of the Movement unfolded in Florida, changing America for the better.”
The Black History Month Celebration is presented by the St. Petersburg Library System, city of St. Petersburg Urban Affairs, the Palladium Theater and AugustineMonica Films.
In all, more than 45 voices tell the story, including civil rights foot soldiers and field lieutenants, segregationists, White House insiders, clergy, Klansman, correspondents and politicians.
“And while LBJ and MLK are also featured prominently, audiences invariably come away asking why a campaign so pivotal appears to have been wiped from the hard drive of history,” King said.
An Albany, GA, King first began working on the documentary in 2002, after a four-year stint as a TV reporter and anchor at Jacksonville’s NBC News affiliate. With a father who was a lawyer for Dr. Martin Luther King (no relation), King grew up steeped in civil rights history. Well aware of nearby St. Augustine’s rich civil rights past, King began tracking down veterans of the campaign.
“I wanted to capture and chronicle their stories while they were still here,” he said, noting nearly a third of those interviewed are now deceased.
Thirteen years in the making, the film premiered in February 2015 before the League of Women Voters in Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Since then, King has presented it at multiple institutions across the country, including Brandeis University, Boston College, the University of Texas at Austin, and Flagler College in St. Augustine, Dartmouth College and before FAMU’s Sarasota Alumni Chapter in Sarasota.
Last summer, the film earned the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival.
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