January in Black & White

Slide1Our just-concluded January series of four films, every Monday evening, on the theme of race relations, ended with a record turnout for "Prince Among Slaves," the award-winning PBS documentary about the African prince who, thanks to his Muslim faith and literacy in Arabic, was taken for a "Moorish" prince.

The case of mistaken identity led to his eventual freedom, because "his emancipation would greatly please the Emperor of Morocco."  It's a story we love to tell, because it involves Morocco, the United States, and the Tangier American Legation.

Earlier this month, we also showed feature films "Goodbye Bafana" (a worthy but perhaps factually flawed film about Nelson Mandela and his white jailer) and "The Defiant Ones," a 1958 Oscar-winner with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier, chain-gang escapees in racist America.

And we couldn't let Martin Luther King's birthday pass without another showing of "Freedom Riders," always moving, about the struggle to integrate interstate buses in the American South in 1961.

We got an early start with African American History Month, in large part due to travel in February.  And we're glad that the Tangier public was more interested in content than in timing.

Gerald Loftus

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