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African American family in front of automobile with luggage piled on top
Race, Space, and Automobility: A Sneak Preview and Discussion of Driving While Black
Friday, Dec. 07, 2018
05:30 p.m. - 07:30 p.m.
Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, New York City
Race, Space, and Automobility: A Sneak Preview and Discussion of Driving While Black

5:30 pm Welcome Reception

6:00 pm Sneak Preview of Driving While Black
Driving While Black explores the role of the automobile in the lives of African Americans in the early twentieth century. Based on over a decade of research by acclaimed historian Gretchen Sorin, the documentary draws on archival material from the period along with riveting oral histories and the on-camera insights of scholars, writers, musicians, artists, religious leaders and ordinary American travelers. The film will be structured by the emergence, flourishing and eventual obsolescence of a new genre of travel literature aimed at facilitating black automobile travel during the period; including The Negro Motorist Green Book – “the bible of black travel during Jim Crow.”

Directed by Ric Burns and produced by Steeplechase Films in association with the State University of New York at Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program, Driving While Black will be broadcast nationally on PBS in the fall of 2019. Production of the documentary is supported in part by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

6:30 pm Panel Discussion
Speakers: Ric Burns (documentary filmmaker and writer, Steeplechase Films), Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, (distinguished professor and director, Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies at the State University of New York College at Oneonta), and Dexter Wimberly (independent curator and Art World Conference founder and CEO); Moderator: Lee Bynum (Mellon Foundation senior program associate and associate director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program).

aerial view of tract housing
Owned: A Tale of Two Americas
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019
05:30 p.m. - 08:00 p.m.
Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, New York City
Owned: A Tale of Two Americas

5:30 pm Welcome Reception

6:00 pm Screening of Owned: A Tale of Two Americas
Why has the American Dream of homeownership come to be reality for some, but not others? Owned: A Tale of Two Americas is a fever dream vision into the complex history behind the United States' housing economy.  US postwar housing policy created the world’s largest middle class. It also set America on two divergent paths--one of imagined wealth, propped up by speculation and endless booms-and-busts, and the other in systematically defunded, segregated communities, where the American Dream feels hopelessly out of reach.

7:30 pm Panel Discussion
A panel discussion moderated by Mellon Foundation Senior Program Officer Dianne Harris will follow the screening. Panelists include Giorgio Angelini, director of Owned: A Tale of Two Americas,  Andre Perry, David M. Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and N. D. B. Connolly, Herbert Baxter Adams Associate Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University.

HBCU graduates in cap and gown
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019
05:30 p.m. - 08:00 p.m.
Museum of Arts and Design, New York City
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities

5:30 pm Welcome Reception

6:00 pm Screening of Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities
Founded to educate a population newly freed from legal slavery, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been largely invisible in both American history and the history of higher education. Stanley Nelson’s Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities, begins with the profound challenge facing schools that were designed to educate African Americans, and that were, with very few exceptions, the only higher education option available to them. The documentary takes viewers on a fascinating journey starting with the early development of HBCUs and covers their contributions to American history and culture, up to and including the present day. Tell Them We Are Rising was produced with support in part from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

7:30 pm Panel Discussion
Speakers: Jafari Allen (associate professor at the University of Miami) and Johnnetta Cole (senior consulting fellow at the Mellon Foundation, director emerita of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, and president emerita of Spelman College). Moderator: Elizabeth Alexander (president of the Mellon Foundation).

portraits of Elizabeth Alexander and Bill T. Jones
Bill Chats: Elizabeth Alexander
Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2019
06:00 p.m. - 08:00 p.m.
New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street, New York City
Bill Chats: Elizabeth Alexander

Presented in partnership with New York Live Arts. Please also join us for a reception beginning at 5:30pm.

Bill T. Jones, legendary choreographer and artistic director of New York Live Arts joins Elizabeth Alexander, renowned poet, educator, memoirist, scholar, cultural advocate and president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to discuss the role of the dance arts in preserving the cultural record for a new generation. The conversation will be preceded by a special work-in-progress screening of the anticipated new documentary film, Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters (co-directed by Rosalynde LeBlanc and Tom Hurwitz), about a group of dancers who must overcome the physical and emotional challenges required to learn Jones’s 1989 tour-de-force on risk and sacrifice, love, loss, and resurrection. Film co-directors Ms. LeBlanc and Mr. Hurwitz will also join Mr. Jones and Dr. Alexander on stage in conversation.