Free Advance Screening of ‘The Powerbroker’ in North Little Rock Feb. 5

Jan 29, 2013

UALR Public Radio, The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), and William F. Laman Library invite the public to a free advance screening of “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights” as part of Community Cinema Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 6:30 p.m.


During the 1960s, as the executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney Young Jr. was one of the few African-Americans who had the ears of those who controlled the levers of power: Fortune 500 CEOs, governors, senators and presidents. He used these relationships to gain better access to employment, education, housing and healthcare for African-Americans, other minorities and those in need.

His unique position and approach earned him not only praise, but also scorn from the Black Power movement for being too close to the white establishment.

While he is less known today than other leaders of the era because of the behind-the-scenes nature of his work, Young’s legacy and influence are still felt profoundly. Ten years in the making, “The Powerbroker” is both a personal portrait of Young – drawing on the reflections of family members and never-before-seen home movies, personal photographs and audio recordings – and a historical chronicle of how he applied the social service mission of the Urban League to realize the rhetoric of the civil rights movement.

The film features rare archival footage and exclusive interviews with an array of people who worked with Young and who have been shaped by his work, including the late Dorothy Height, Pulitzer Prize winner Manning Marable, John Hope Franklin, Ossie Davis, and Howard Zinn, as well as Julian Bond, Vernon Jordan, John Lewis, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Young’s biographer Dennis C. Dickerson, Donald Rumsfeld, Ramsey Clark, and others.


The screening will be held in the auditorium of William F. Laman Public Library, 2801 Orange Street, North Little Rock. A community discussion will follow the screening. The discussion leader will be Dr. Barclay Key of the UALR History Department. Dr. Key has taught African American History and the History of the American South. Dr. Key is the past recipient of a Fulbright Lecturing Award to Poland for 2009-2010. Race and Restoration: Churches of Christ and the Black Freedom Struggle is currently under contract with American History and Culture series at Louisiana State University Press. Dr. Key is currently working on a manuscript tentatively titled, “The Colors of Confession: Racial Reconciliation during the Long Civil Rights Movement.”


Community Cinema, a free monthly screening series engaging communities through films produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), features monthly screenings followed by panel discussions with leading organizations, local communities and special guest speakers. The program is designed to help people learn about and get involved in the social issues raised in the documentaries.