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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.