On Saturday, February 24th CT Public Learning held a screening of Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities, a documentary which premiered on PBS stations on February 19th.
The event was organized and sponsored by the Epsilon Omicron Omega Chapter (Hartford Alumnae) of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the oldest Greek-lettered community service organization established by African-American college-educated women, in partnership with the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth & Family Center in Hartford.
Tell Them We Are Rising, produced by filmmakers Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams, recounts the history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), tracing their roots from the days of slavery throughout reconstruction, the turn of the 20th century, and up until the modern day.
In their examination of this history, Nelson and Williams highlight the inspiring efforts of pioneering black activists to further access to equitable education.
CT Public Learning’s Senior Vice President of Education Donna Sodipo introduced the event’s host, Brittney Yancy. Yancy, a Ph.D. candidate/lecturer at UConn and alumna of HBCU Hampton University, addressed an audience that consisted mainly of fellow HBCU graduates as well as a group of high school students looking for potential schools in the future.
Reflecting on her remarks, Yancy emphasized the importance of young people recognizing the scope of influence that HBCU alumni have had in their communities.
“This event was enlightening for our Greater Hartford community, and it was good for our students to see the large presence of HBCU alumni in the room. Not many people know that Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Morehouse, Oprah went to Tennessee State University, Alice Walker went to Spelman, or Chadwick Boseman, Marvel’s Black Panther, went to Howard.” Yancy proudly recounted.
Adding about the educational significance of the film, Yancy noted “Tell Them We Are Rising tells a long overdue story of how Historically Black Colleges and Universities have shaped American history and culture. For over 150 years, HBCUs graduates have impacted every discipline and continue to make significant change in our world.”
Following the screening, audience members were encouraged to share memories from their experiences at HBCU’s as well as insights about how these institutions can continue to exist and thrive in the 21st century. The testimonies given were passionate, and the audience members spanned multiple generations of HBCU alumni.
About Alpha Kappa Alpha
Founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) is the oldest Greek-lettered community service organization established by African-American college-educated women. Today, the sorority is comprised of more than 260,000 distinguished women in graduate and undergraduate chapters in the United States, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Germany, Korea and on the continent of Africa.
About the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth & Family Center:
The YMCA of Greater Hartford is a charitable association open to all and committed to helping people develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind and body. This commitment is reinforced by their belief in living out universal values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
About the CT Learning Lab
As part of a partnership with Hartford Public Schools, CT Public Learning offers a satellite campus focused on video and audio production, editing, television and radio journalism, digital arts and game design– for high school students from Hartford’s Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School. For adults interested in pursuing a media career or simply interested in gaining technical skills to advance in their already established fields, CT Public Learning’s Institute for Advanced Media (IAM) provides classes in the basics of video production, from pre-production to post-production, digital arts and the project management skills for life seminar. A program of the IAM, the Veterans Vocational Training Program (VVTP) is designed to help veterans transition their military skills to civilian careers by providing free IAM courses and hands-on career training to 50 veterans a year as well as their spouses and caregivers. In addition to providing media education, project management and workforce development, the VVTP provides life coaching and personal support that addresses the whole person, and helps students navigate and connect with state agencies and partners that can help ease their transition. CT Public Learning also offers a range of opportunities to college students through the CT Public Learning Media Lab, with classes focusing on storyboarding, video production, web content creation and social media.
For more information about Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities, please visit the following link: