2023 Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum

The American Friends Service Committee
& The BlackQuaker Project

The 2023 Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum
Screening & Discussion Every Other Saturday
4 February 2023 to 8 April 2023, 1 PM Eastern Time  

Dear F/friends,          

The BlackQuaker Project (BQP) is proud to announce the 2023 Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum, a groundbreaking exploration of Black Friends who made a difference throughout both USA and world history. This year’s festival-forum features themes of importance to African American Quakers and others concerned with truth and justice: abolition, retrospective justice/reparations, freedom, education, Black-White relations, non-violence, and anti-violence in response to systemic violence. Our honorees range from 20th century trailblazing Friends of African Descent back to early Quakers of Color who are too often forgotten. Some of their stories will challenge Friends to consider what defines a Quaker, as we examine the lives of extraordinary people of color who were Friends in all but name, and ask ourselves what may have prevented or deterred them from joining the Religious Society of Friends. Our festival-forum begins on 4 February, in recognition of Black History Month, continues through Women’s History Month in March, and ends on 8 April with a special celebration of the momentous 125th birthday of prolific artist and human rights activist Paul Robeson, a descendant of over 200 years of Quakers. 

Screenings will be held over Zoom every other Saturday at 1:00 PM Eastern Time and will feature post-screening dialogues between invited guest experts, hosted by festival-forum director and curator Dr. Harold D. Weaver. We are honored to have eminent scholar-activists, writers, and historians, some of whom are descendants of our honorees, participating in this year’s dialogues, which will conclude with Q & A sessions open to our audience.

How to Register 

Free registration is open for EACH screening on our website here! Please note that you must register for EACH screening separately. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email and, 24 hours before the screening, you will receive a Zoom link for the event you chose to attend. You can view our full program schedule below. 

Saturday, 4 February 2023: Interview with Bill Sutherland (1999) –Liberation and Non-Violence in Africa & USA 

  • Honoring Bill Sutherland (1918-2010): nonviolence advocate, veteran AFSC employee, imprisoned conscientious objector, friend and active supporter of African liberation and freedom fighters. 
  • Featuring a discussion between Joyce Ajlouny (AFSC General Secretary), Keith Harvey (AFSC  NE Regional Director), and Dr. Matthew Meyer, co-author with Bill Sutherland of Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan-African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle and Liberation (2001)

Saturday, 18 February 2023: The Prep School Negro (2012) –Joan Countryman: African Americans in Quaker Schools.

  • Honoring Joan Countryman (b. 1945): first African American graduate of Germantown Friends School, longtime teacher and administrator in Friends’ schools, former head of Lincoln School and co-founder of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership School for Girls in South Africa.
  • Featuring a discussion between the honoree, the film’s director-producer André Robert Lee, and Westtown School teacher-graduate Mauricio Torres (video recorded).

Saturday, 4 March 2023: Sisters in Freedom (2018) –Sarah Mapps Douglass: Women in the Abolition Struggle Against Slavery. 

  • Honoring Sarah Mapps Douglass (1806-1882): prolific educator, author, committed abolitionist, and ancestor of Paul Robeson.
  • Featuring a discussion between eminent historian Dr. Emma Lapsansky-Werner and author Joyce Mosley, a Bustill-Mapps descendant.

Saturday, 18 March 2023: Benjamin Banneker: The Man Who Loved The Stars (1981) – Early African American Scholar-Activist. 

  • Honoring Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806): almanac publisher, astronomer, petitioner to Thomas Jefferson for African American abolition, and faithful Attender of Quaker Meeting.
  • Featuring a discussion with Banneker descendant-researchers of African and European descent: Gwen Marable, Dr. Rachel Webster, and Pamela Williams.

Saturday, 8 April 2023: Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1978) and The Proud Valley (1940) – Celebrating Paul Robeson’s 125th Birthday

  • Honoring Quaker descendant Paul Robeson, the “beleaguered leader” and “artist as revolutionary,” groundbreaking recording, film, theatrical, and music star.
  • Featuring a discussion between Robeson scholars Dr. Gerald Horne, Dr. Charles Musser, and Dr. Harold D. Weaver.

To learn more about the 2023 Black Quaker Lives Matter Film Festival & Forum, please visit our official page for the festival-forum here on our BQP website.

Write to us at the theblackquakerproject@gmail.com with any questions or comments about the festival-forum. Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter on to other organizations and individuals who you feel might be interested.

Peace and blessings,
Dr. Harold D. Weaver
Festival-Forum Founding Director, Curator, and Host

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