Stark Film Studies guest residency brings documentarian and c­­­ivil rights activist Judy­­­­ Richardson to campus in April

Judy Richardson. Photo by Don West.
Judy Richardson. Photo by Don West.

Author, documentarian and c­­­ivil rights activist Judy­­­­ Richardson will open the Fran and Ray Stark Distinguished Guest Residency in Film Studies on April 12 with a book talk about “Hands on the Freedom Plow” at 4:30 p.m. in Blaustein Humanities Center, Room 210. Screenings of her films and a panel discussion with noted filmmakers will also take place during the month. All events are free and open to the public.

Judy Richardson began fighting for social justice early in her life, becoming a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), opening the Drum & Speak Bookstore in Washington, D.C., and eventually a publishing house, for which she became the children's editor. Her experience in the movement has influenced her entire life, including her work on all 14 hours of the Academy Award-nominated PBS series, Eyes on the Prize, as its education director. Richardson also co-produced Blackside’s 1994 Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary, Malcolm X: Make It Plain (for PBS’s The American Experience). Most recently, Richardson co-edited the anthology, "Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC," with five other SNCC workers.

The Fran and Ray Stark Distinguished Guest Residency in Film Studies at Connecticut College brings leading scholars and artistic professionals involved with the production, distribution and interpretation of cinema to campus for intensive engagement with students in the Film Studies Program. Stark guest residents work with film students in a comprehensive film seminar or production setting over the course of a month or an academic semester. Previously, the residency has brought to campus Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Sean Fine ‘96 and Andrea Nix Fine, groundbreaking documentarian Jennie Livingston, and filmmaker and dance artist David Hinton.

Dates, times and locations for the film screenings and talks

April 12: "Hands on the Freedom Plow" book talk and reception with Judy Richardson
4:30-6 p.m., Blaustein Humanities Center 210.
In “Hands on the Freedom Plow,” fifty-two women - northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white, and Latina - share their courageous personal stories of working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on the front lines of the civil rights movement. Author Judy Richardson and three of the women featured in “Hands on the Freedom Plow” - Dorothy Zellner, Betty Garman Robinson and Muriel Tillinghast - will share their stories and answer questions about the black freedom struggle, SNCC and the collaboration that lead to the book.

April 15: Film Screening: “Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters”
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Blaustein Humanities Center, Room 210.
A two-hour History Channel documentary that depicts the system of slave policing. The stories are set in both the South and the North, from the mid-1700’s colonial era through the end of the Civil War and its aftermath, and told through archival material, scholar interviews and recreations. While the stories show the brutality of the slave system, they also reveal another, often-overlooked side of the history - the strength and ingenuity of the enslaved.

April 18: Film Screening: "Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968”
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Blaustein Humanities Center, Room 203.
"Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968,” brings to light one of the bloodiest tragedies of the Civil Rights era after four decades of deliberate denial. The killing of four white students at Kent State University in 1970 left an indelible stain on our national consciousness. But most Americans know nothing of the three black students killed at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg two years earlier. This scrupulously researched documentary finally offers the definitive account of that tragic incident and reveals the environment that allowed it to be buried for so long. It raises disturbing questions about how our country acknowledges its tortured racial past in order to make sense of its challenging present.

April 20: Film Screening - “The Mine Wars” and panel discussion with filmmakers Tracy Strain and Randall MacLowry
4:30 - 6:30 p.m., Blaustein Humanities Center, Room 210.
Strain and MacLowry will present clips from their film, “The Mine Wars” (from the PBS series American Experience) which tells the story of West Virginia coal miners’ uprisings in the early 20th century, and their new film, “Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” a feature documentary about the late playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Judy Richardson will lead them in a Q&A.

April 25: Film Screening - “Ain’t Goin’ Shuffle No More.”
4:30 - 5:30 p.m., Blaustein Humanities Center, Room 210.
“Ain’t Gonna Shuffle No More” (1964-1972) is the 11th episode of the famous PBS documentary. The episode offers a call to pride and a renewed push for unity to galvanize black America. World heavyweight champion Cassius Clay challenges America to accept him as Muhammad Ali, a minister of Islam who refuses to fight in Vietnam. Students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., fight to bring the growing black consciousness movement and their African heritage inside the walls of this prominent black institution.

April 27: Film Screening - “Little Rock Nine”
4:30 - 5:30 p.m., Blaustein Humanities Center, Room 210.
This episode of Eyes on the Prize tells the story of a group of courageous black students who integrated the Arkansas capital city's Central High School in September 1957.

For more information on the Stark Residency events, contact Liz Reich, Further information may also be found at

April 7, 2016