Documentary Explores Civil Rights Movement on Long Island

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A new documentary about how the Civil Rights movement unfolded on the Gold Coast of Long Island is making the rounds with local screenings.

Defining Moments: The Civil Rights Movement in North Hempstead documents oral histories of advocates recounting triumphs against inequalities during the tumultuous time in the 1960s and how the changes shaped the present.

“Many people, especially the younger generation, living on Long Island think about the Civil Rights movement as something that happened down South, but do not realize that the fight for equal rights was alive and active here as well,” said Alan Ginsberg, the film’s director. “From education, to jobs and housing, there were many inequalities on Long Island that needed change. We also wanted to make this film because while we have many conversations about race relations today, we need to first understand our own history, before we can have educated conversations.”

Issues such as the struggle for fair housing, the desegregation of schools, the hiring of African-American teachers as well as the unique partnership forged between the Jewish and African American communities are explored in the film. In addition, Martin Luther King’s several appearances on LI are highlighted. The film also explores the difference between government-sanctioned open segregation in the South versus de facto, covert segregation on LI.

The 40-minute film, which premiered in January at the Manhasset Bow Tie Theater in Manhasset, was produced by the Town of North Hempstead. It was funded by a grant from the National Park Service.

“Many of our North Hempstead residents have powerful stories of courage, confrontation, triumph, and sorrow throughout the Civil Rights Movement that remain largely untold and entirely unpreserved for future generations,” said North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “This film provides a wonderful opportunity for us to preserve their stories and for the young people of today to hear a first-hand account of how these people stood up against bigotry and changed the world for the better.”

Defining Moments: The Civil Rights Movement in North Hempstead will be screened March 31 at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center, 100 Crescent Beach Rd., Glen Cove. Additional dates are to follow and can be found at mynhtv.com 


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