Teach Us All
Monday, September 25 • 6:30pm • Ford Motor Company Theatre
The National Civil Rights Museum has joined the national commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine with the premiere screening of Teach Us All, a documentary produced by Ava DuVernay’s film distribution company ARRAY. On Monday, September 25, ARRAY will debut the film on Netflix accompanied by a national tour including a screening at the National Civil Rights Museum at 6:30pm.
Teach Us All is a documentary and social justice campaign on educational inequality set against the backdrop of the 1957 Little Rock school crisis. Sixty years after the Little Rock Nine faced violent resistance when desegregating Central High in Arkansas, America’s schools continue to represent the key battleground of the Civil Rights Movement. Teach Us All demonstrates powerful lessons from history within a timely context, emphasizing the need for unity and collective action to rectify the disparities among America’s children.
In September 1957, following the watershed Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, a group of African-American students known as the Little Rock Nine courageously attempted to defy the notion that skin color should determine educational access by integrating an all-white, southern high school. Nearly 60 years after the “Little Rock Crisis,” disparities in access to quality education remain among the most urgent civil rights issues of our time. With its school district hanging in the balance following a state takeover in January 2015, contemporary Little Rock presents a microcosm of the inequities and challenges manifesting in classrooms all across America, which is seeing a re-segregation of its schools.
The film is organized in three collaborative themes: the teacher’s role in influencing young people’s lives, the need for community engagement for school success, and the power of the students who will be charged with the fight for their right to education equity. Through case studies in Little Rock, New York City, and Los Angeles, the feature-length documentary film seeks to bring the critical lessons of history to bear on the current state of U.S. education and investigate how far have we come – or not come – and where do we go from here?
Director Sonia Lowman, who went to a segregated, predominantly white school in a predominantly white neighborhood, recalls learning about the Little Rock Nine. However, she and her classmates did not feel a direct connection to the story, not realizing they were living an unfulfilled dream of racial integration set forth in the modern Civil Rights Movement.
Lowman stated, “Teach Us All is thus a story for all Americans—for our “melting pot” of people from diverse backgrounds who really don’t know each other because of the ways in which we arrange our neighborhoods and schools. And this is an answer to the Civil Rights Movement—generations later, with still so far to go.”