In-person attendance with large crowds being now banned at WARC because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the West African Research Center was truly challenged as to what activity to conduct to meet the expectations of its numerous friends for Black History Month. That’s when this 1991-film, Separate but Equal, came to mind and was screened on Thursday February 25th. Although the film lasts more than 3 hours, the virtual audience were eager to re-discover the icon of african american film, Sidney Poitier, in his excellent impersonation of the celebrated black lawyer Thurgood Marshall. Indeed, the movie traces the events that led to the landmark 1954 US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared that segregated schools are unconstitutional and detrimental to the building of learning, knowledge and self-confidence and worth in the young black minds in the South of the United States particularly (the events took place in South Carolina). As illustrated by the film, Thurgood Marshall, then chief council for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)’s Legal Defense Fund, displays exceptional moral leadership in the case. It should also be noted that the then Chief Justice Earl Warren uses his skill of negotiation as a former prominent political leader to convince the other justices of the Supreme Court to cast their vote for desegregation and the cause was unanimously won for the integration of schools in South Carolina and other parts of the United States.
Over 36 people virtually attended the session.