UMass Boston News

Barbara Lewis Discusses Birth of a Movement and Film Subject William Monroe Trotter

The Birth of a Nation poster
Event Start Date: October 17, 2017 - 6 p.m.
Event End Date: October 17, 2017 - 8 p.m.
Location: Brockton Public Library, 304 Main Street, Brockton, MA 02301

Barbara Lewis, director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture, will discuss the PBS documentary Birth of a Movement, which revisits an early 20th century culture war stirred up by an incendiary, ground-breaking 1915 film. Directed by Kentucky-born D.W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation portrayed a divisive Confederate view of African Americans as a criminal threat to be stopped by the Ku Klux Klan. William Monroe Trotter, a passionate voice for justice, whose father, James Monroe Trotter, was a Civil War veteran, knew that portraying blacks as the enemy, promoted untruth over truth. The huge public protest that William Monroe Trotter led at the Tremont Theater, supported by the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), birthed the first modern mass movement for black human rights. A brilliant, uncompromising leader, Trotter is still overlooked by history.

Birth of A Movement, and Professor Lewis’s lecture will help library patrons understand how Trotter, the NAACP during its first years, and their early allies organized a mass movement against the propaganda film, in turn laying the seeds for the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and positioning the current Black Lives Matter Movement as pivotal to an ongoing national democracy agenda.

For disability-related accommodations, including dietary accommodations, please visit www.ada.umb.edu two weeks prior to the event.