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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

UIS to present Black and Gay Film Series

February 2, 2005

SPRINGFIELD - University of Illinois at Springfield student group SASSI (Students against Sexual Stereotypes and Inequality), in conjunction with the course Sexual Orientation and Public Policy, will sponsor a Black and Gay Film Series, Thursdays in February. All films will be shown at noon in conference room E, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center on the UIS campus, and are free and open to the public.

The series is presented in observance of Black History Month and explores the lives of gay and lesbian African-Americans. A question-and-answer session will follow each film.

The films are:
February 10.  Black is . . .Black ain’t  (87 minutes).  This examination of racism, sexism, and homophobia within the black community is the final work of independent filmmaker Marlon Riggs. It brings together personal stories, interviews, music, history, and performance, and includes appearances by cultural critics including Angela Davis, Cornell West, and bell hooks, musician Maulana Karenga, choreographer Bill T. Jones, and poet Essex Hemphill. Riggs died in April 1994 of complications due to AIDS and this film was completed posthumously.

February 17. Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100 (60 minutes). This award-winning film documents the life and times of Ruth Ellis, the oldest out African American lesbian known. Born July 23, 1899, in Springfield, Illinois, Ellis was 97 and “tearing up a dance floor” when filmmaker Yvonne Welbon first set eyes on her. Welbon weaves a touching tale of Ellis’ long life: her first crush; her 30 years with companion Babe; and their move to Detroit, where Ellis became one of the first women in the United States to own a printing business. Ellis and Babe’s home became a popular spot and haven from racism for African-American lesbians and gays long before Stonewall and the modern civil rights movement.

February 24. Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (60 minutes).  Rustin, a master strategist and tireless activist, is perhaps best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the U.S. While Rustin brought peaceful protest techniques to the American civil rights movement and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence, nevertheless he was threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and fired from important positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. This award-winning documentary focuses on Rustin’s quest for peace, racial equality, economic justice, and human rights.

For more information, contact Pat Langley, professor of Women’s Studies and Legal Studies at UIS, at 206-7423.

 

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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