Screening and Discussion of Documentary “Beyond the Mask: Paul Laurence Dunbar”

Join the Brown University Library for a screening of the documentary film, Beyond the Mask: Paul Laurence Dunbar, followed by Q&A with filmmaker Frederick Lewis AM ‘83 on Tuesday September 13, 2022 at 4 p.m. in the Lownes Room at the John Hay Library. (Note: This room is at the top of a lengthy stairwell. Please notify us through the RSVP form if you require elevator access or other accommodations.)

Reception with light refreshments at 3:30 p.m. Q&A from 6:15 – 6:45 p.m.

RSVP Required (click to RSVP)

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and the John Hay Library in collaboration with the Rhode Island Black Film Festival.

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask

photo of Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask is a feature length documentary about the life and legacy of Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 – 1906), the first African American poet and writer to gain international fame. Born to enslaved people in Dayton, OH, Dunbar is best remembered for his poem, “We Wear the Mask,” and for the line, “I know why the caged bird sings!” from his poem, “Sympathy,” which became the title of Maya Angelou’s famous autobiography. 

More than ten years in the making, Beyond the Mask received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional support from Ohio Humanities.

Frederick Lewis

Writer and director Frederick Lewis AM ‘83 is a professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University. His independent documentaries have been seen on PBS stations throughout the U.S. and have been screened at more than 100 cultural and educational venues, including the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and the Explorers Club in New York City.

Frederick Lewis AM ’83

Professor Lewis is a recipient of the Presidential Teacher Award, Ohio University’s highest honor for transformative teaching, curriculum innovation and mentoring. He has been a Fulbright Specialist in Hungary and has also taught or lectured in England, Germany, France, Ukraine, Malaysia and Vietnam. He received a master’s degree in Literary Arts from Brown University.

Dunbar and John Hay

In addition to being a statesman, John Hay (1838 – 1905), namesake of the John Hay Library,  was himself a writer of dialect poetry as a young man and supported the artistic efforts of Dunbar and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

Rhode Island Black Film Festival

Established in 2017, the Rhode Island Black Film Festival is an independent film festival that focuses primarily on black film—works by Black members of the film industry.  The Film Festival provides a platform for social justice issues and the cultural achievements of African-Americans and persons of African descent.  It is held to recognize achievements of film actors of African descent and to honor films that stand out in their portrayal of Black experience. Beyond the Mask:Paul Laurence Dunbar was among 2017 Film Festival selections of the Rhode Island Black FIlm Festival. For additional information about the Film Festival email [email protected] or call 401-996-1166. 

Accessibility

To request accommodations for a disability-related need, please reach out to [email protected] as far in advance of the event as possible. Thank you.

Donate Paperbacks to Providence Books Through Bars at the Rock

photo of book truck
Add your paperback donation to the book truck at the Rock!

Through the month of August, join the Brown University Library in collecting paperback books for Providence Books Through Bars (Instagram tag @provbtb).

Providence Books Through Bars — a local, volunteer-led organization — fulfills book requests from incarcerated individuals throughout the country. See the list of the most requested books below.

Please bring paperback donations to the lobby of the Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street, Providence, by August 30, 2022.

Thank you for donating to this local community organization!

Requested book genres (most needed in bold)

  • How-to-draw, adult coloring, origami, calligraphy
  • Fantasy and science fiction 
  • Graphic novels, manga, comics
  • How to start a business (recent books, please)
  • Games (chess, crosswords, Sudoku & puzzles)
  • Self-help & inspirational 
  • Westerns 
  • Reference: dictionaries, almanacs, sign language, thesaurus, Spanish-English and other language dictionaries
  • Basic books on grammar & writing 
  • Conspiracies, aliens and paranormal
  • LGBTQ
  • Crafts
  • How-to for the trades (carpentry, etc.)
  • Native American (history, culture and novels)
  • Mexican/Mayan (history, culture and novels)
  • Journals and sketchbooks – no spiral bound; hard cover is ok
  • Living off the grid and survival
  • Wicca, supernatural, dreams
  • Science (especially biology, astronomy, anatomy)
  • National Geographic magazines
  • Exercise/fitness
  • Paranormal fiction (vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters)
  • Meditation & yoga
  • Classics 
  • Poetry anthologies 
  • Black/African history and culture
  • Mythology (especially Norse, Viking and Egyptian)
  • Gardening & horticulture (including eco living, living off the land)
  • Mysteries, thrillers, best-sellers, horror & suspense novels
  • Travel/places/cultures (paperback with pictures)
  • How-to play an instrument, particularly guitar
  • Legal self-help of relevance to incarcerated people