Film series features black history in the U.S.

— “There were some interesting omissions in that piece,” Wiley said. “We had quite a few very knowledgeable people at that first showing, so a lot of people contributed to our conversation.

“It was nice.”

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln, abolished slavery on Feb. 1, 1863, discrimination continued in the United States. Walking into a diner, a black man sat on the side labeled “Colored Only.” Brave, young students walked in, black and white, and sat in the “White Only” section. They were denied service and were told to leave, but the students stayed and sat quietly until they received service, something that would not come to them easily.

The film “Freedom Riders,” shown at the Plattsburgh Public Library Feb. 15, took an inside look at the struggles activists had in the 1960s when they challenged segregation in the Deep, “Jim Crow” South by riding public buses such as Greyhound and disobeying the system.

Even though “The Abolitionists” didn’t mention Harriet Tubman, the “Freedom Riders” did mention Martin Luther King Jr. only not in the way a person would expect.

“The Freedom Riders wanted him, and he (Martin Luther King Jr.) declined,” Madison said. “They (the audience) didn’t see him in the same light.

“But some felt it was a good thing because he could’ve been killed.”

The next film, “Slavery By Another Name,” will be played Feb. 22 at the Plattsburgh Public Library at 1 p.m. with Wiley as a discussion leader. Going back before the Freedom Riders, this film will show how even though slavery was legally abolished, new forms of labor kept African Americans in bondage until the beginning of World War II.

Wiley said the two tactics used to implement Jim Crow was the Convict Lease System, a system of penal labor instituted in the American South after the emancipation of slaves by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865, and Negro Peonage, the new slavery in the South.

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