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February 2010

'The Black List: Volume 3,' ''Scarred Justice,' and Heart of Stone' highlight BHM






'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.


Co-filmmakers (L-R) Elvis Mitchell and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders attend a screening of "The Blacklist: Volume Three" at The Paley Center for Media on February 3, 2010 in New York City.

After the success of its first two specials, HBO will air 'The Black List: Volume 3' on Feb. 8 to celebrate Black History Month.

Like volumes 1 and 2, 'Volume 3' will profile some of today's most dynamic African Americans. From the childhood inspirations that shaped their ambitions to the evolving American landscape they helped define, these prominent individuals offer a unique look into the zeitgeist of black America, redefining the traditional pejorative notion of a blacklist.

The film is a collaboration between distinguished portrait photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who serves as the show's director, and award-winning journalist Elvis Mitchell, who interviews the subjects, which include Oscar-winning actress and TV host Whoopi Goldberg, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Legend, United Negro College Fund President Dr. Michael Lomax, actor Hill Harper, fashion model Beverly Johnson, CEO of BET Debra L. Lee, actor LaTanya Richardson and director-producer Lee Daniels.

HEART OF STONE (Available on DVD)

Directed by Beth Toni Kruvant and winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival is 'Heart of Stone.'

Before 1960 Weequahic High School (WHS) was known as one of the top schools in America. By 2000 it was one of the most violent schools in the 12th most dangerous city in the country. Heart of Stone is the true story of Weequahic High School's quest to return to its former glory.

When Ron Stone took over as principal in 2001, gangs ruled the school. Crime and shootings were commonplace and during his first month on the job he watched students engage in a mass brawl in every hallway.

Stone knew his work was cut out for him and devised an unconventional plan to realize his vision of turning the school around. He started by working with the gangs and establishing the school as a no-violence zone. He then partnered with the committed alumni association -- comprised of mostly older Jewish and younger African American alums -- to raise funds for programs and college scholarships that helped transform the gang culture of the school to one of discipline and performance. At Weequahic High School, where Philip Roth immortalized his Newark, NJ as a turn of the century Camelot, we watch an unusual tale unfold where past meets present and adolescents strive to overcome adversity.

The WHS experience is a model for other inner city schools to rejuvenate by reaching into their own past. Inner cities were once proud downtown districts with excellent education programs that graduated professionals who long ago moved to the suburbs. Heart of Stone shows how disparate groups can join together to give their old communities something they have not had for generations - a future.


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