Students, activists and movie buffs all gathered in Langdon Hall Thursday night, Oct. 5 for a film screening of the critically acclaimed, Raoul Peck directed documentary, "I Am Not Your Negro," held by the Higher Ground Society, a group that is "led by today's young minds and empowered by the legacies of activist giants who came before them seeking a more just and tolerant society."
Peck's masterful documentary is based on writer James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript "Remember This House" which dives deep into the United States' history with racism and intolerance, especially in the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s.
In the film, Baldwin reminisces about three integral figures of the Civil Rights Movement: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the assassinations of all three men. The film forces a jarring reality in the face of the viewer: American history is black history, and it's not pretty.
A panel discussion followed the film screening, as a way to open an important discussion about issues that still plague American society today.
Panelists included: Adrienne Duke, an assistant professor in human development and family studies at Auburn University; Julia Charles, an assistant professor African American literature at Auburn University and Richard Trammell, a member of the Mosaic Theatre Company, an ensemble committed to exploring issues of diversity through performance.
Passionate panelists and an active audience led to discussions of a variety of racial and societal problems of the United States. From Colin Kaepernick and the Confederate flag to white supremacists Richard Spencer, a sense of activism filled the room as these issues were intensely and eagerly discussed.
Jerald Crook, founder of the Higher Ground Society and the coordinator of Thursday's event only hoped this event could bring the community together and bring more tolerance into this world.
"Do your own research, educate yourselves, talk to people who aren't like you and get to know them so that we're all able to connect and become better people," Crook said. "One of the goals of the Higher Ground Society is to mend communities and build communities."
With racism still a rampant problem across the United States today, coming together to educate communities and broaden the mindset of certain groups of people can only be a good thing. Crook and the group of talented panelists were able to achieve the sort of open dialogue that the country is in desperate need of.