Last evening, Bridgette and I raced over to the AMC Magic Johnson Theatre at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall, and saw three amazing films.
There was so much to choose from, and so little time!
Every year Ayuko Babu(http://www.paff.org/html/paff_team.php) has over 150 films to view, and this year, each of the theatres were named after a sponser or a film star. This evening, we started off in the the Ja'Net Theatre. ( Ja'NetDuBoi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsdHmNeqsko)
The first film of two that we viewed in that theatre was called ' Rising from the Rails', Directed by Brad Osborne. (http://www.risingfromtherails.com/)
The film chronicled the lives and work of the Pullman Porters that worked on the sleeping cars. In 1865, George Pullman, was the first man to create luxurious sleeping cars. The first sleeping car was named Pioneer. In 1867, the Pullman Company was in full swing. As Pullman Porters, these African American men were given very nice uniforms that they wore with pride. Mr. Pullman selected the men because he wanted safe, reliable and invisible servants. They travelled all over the country, serving wealthy white passengers.
A. Philip Randolph was the African American man that unionized the Porters, giving them an opportunity to have a voice. Before the union, the Porters, who were all African American, were considered the second best thing to a slave - the consumate servant, and if they spoke up, they were fired. They had no voice. They worked 21 hours a day on average, and slept in the dining cars when ever they could get a knap in. The Porters made all kinds of sacrifices, and indured all kinds of indignities that many of them took to their graves. This was none-the-less necessary in order for the men to provide for their families. In exchange for the excellent service that priveledged travelers recieved,they gave the Porters Tips. That is how many many families endured during the post Anti-Bellum South. These men had two career choices; become a Pullman Porter or Share Cropper. Those were the choices and these men chose to be Pullman Porters. These men were respected in the community. They loved their wives and treasured their children- raising children and grand children with strong work ethics instilled in them. These children went on to become college graduates and succesful, productive citizens;Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco, Tom Joyner of the Tom Joyner morning show, Wilma Rudolph, the first American to win three gold medals in one Olympic - were a few examples.
Please read up on the Pullman Porters. http://books.google.com/books?id=drJA5sG1mf0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=children+of+pullman+porters&source=gbs_summary_r#PPP1,M1
' In the Shadow of Hollywood: Race Films & the Birth of Black Cinema'. Was our second film of the evening. It was shown in the Macy*s Theatre. (http://www.macys.com/)
This film was very interesting; it kept us all sitting up and paying close attention. The earliest recorded record of an African American Director was Oscar Micheaux - 1885-1951. There were so many great African American talents - then and now. The film was excellent! You can see it Tuesday, 2/12 @1:00pm.
The third film, 'Skid Row', a Documentary, Directed by Marshall Tyler , and starred Pras Michel(http://www.prasmichel.com/ )of the group The Fugees. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMZIg6GlSOs
Pras lived on the steets of Los Angeles, CA for 9 days, with $9.00 in his pocket. He soon learned a "hustle" and made money most days. On the days that he wasn't so succesful, he slept at the Midnight Mission - LA's oldest shelter, located in downtown Los Angeles. http://www.midnightmission.org/
The Director of the Midnight Mission, Orlando Ward, played a very pivital role in this documentary. He handled the devistation of homelessness as a Surgeon handles a scalpel . His wisdom and knowlege was very helpful to all watching the film. Afterwards there was a Q & A with the staff/cast of the film, and the vast majority of the audience wanted to ask Mr. Ward questions. Pras stated that the film has changed his perspective on life; The material things that were so important to him before the documentary, are not as important to him today.
Pras had a few closing remarks. He stated that people treated him as if he were invisable because he was homeless. It seems as though we treat dogs and cats better than our fellow human beings. He asked that even if you don't give the homeless money, or clothing, etc., don't treat them like they are invisable.They do exist. Even a nodd of the head is good. Something to think about.
Until next time....