An Explorer of Black History’s Uncharted Terrain
FOR some people, filmmaking is a lifelong dream. For Stanley Nelson, it began as more of a situational thing, a response to time and place. The time was the late 1960s and early ’70s, the place to be avoided was Vietnam, the refuge was film school at the City University of New York. “It was kind of my motive to stay in school no matter what, you know what I’m saying?”
In some ways Mr. Nelson, whose graying hair is the only thing that betrays his 59 years, has been in school ever since. An accomplished director and producer of documentaries, primarily for television — his latest film, “Freedom Riders,” makes its debut on Monday night as part of the PBS series “American Experience” — he has spent his career exploring the byways of black history and culture, and passing along the stories he finds.
“I feel like I’m trying to tell African-American audiences something they haven’t heard,” he said, “because I feel like if I tell African-American audiences something new about their history, then it’s definitely going to be new for white folks too.
“In some ways,” he continued, “I’m trying not to be that guy in ‘Tarzan’ who interprets the drums for Tarzan. I don’t want to be that person.”
comments powered by Disqus
- Holocaust Victims Mocked in Ohio State Band Parody Songbook
- Memphis attempt to drop name of Nathan Bedford Forrest runs into state law
- Overlooked: The 25th anniversary of Captive Nations Week
- In confession to historian, George McGovern revealed he had a secret child
- Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism
- U.K. Released Hundreds of Nazis After the Holocaust, Says Leading Historian
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- Historians Against the War gathering signatures for new resolution to AHA on alleged violations of academic freedom in Israel
- Academic Seeks Death Certificate for Outlaw Billy the Kid
- Murderer of historian of Czech Jewry goes on trial