Beyond the Classroom presents "American Promise"

Beyond the Classroom presents the award-winning documentary: "American Promise" (2013, USA, 80 minutes)

Monday, November 3, 2014, 7:00-9:00 pm
1102 South Campus Commons, Building 1


"American Promise" spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation at Manhattan’s Dalton School, this provocative, intimate... documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity. The American Promise journey began in 1999, when filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson enrolled their son Idris in the Dalton School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after the private institution boldly strengthened its commitment to cultivating a diverse student body. Michèle and Joe decided to turn the camera on themselves to film the experiences of 5-year-old Idris and his best friend and classmate Seun. The documentary captures the stories of Idris, Seun, and their families from the first day of kindergarten all the way to their 2012 high school graduation.

Over the 12 years, we see the boys and their families struggle with stereotypes and identity, navigate learning differences that later become diagnoses, and ultimately take increasingly divergent paths on their road to graduation. We also see a rare and vivid portrait of middle-class African-American families as the parents wrestle with doubts and angst over their sons’ educational journey and both families grapple with how best to support their sons and interact with teachers and administrators. All of this is set against the backdrop of a persistent educational achievement gap that dramatically affects African-American boys at all socioeconomic levels across the country.

• Special Jury Prize, 2013 Sundance Film Festival
• “American Promise plays a vital role in shifting the perceptions our society holds about young black boys, allowing us to have a new dialogue about the achievement gap and how we all have a collective responsibility to identify and remove unintentional hurdles so that every child, regardless of their race or gender, can reach their full potential and brighten our country’s future.” – Rashid Shabbaz, Program Officer, Open Society Institute.

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November 03, 2014 at 7pm - 9pm
1102 South Campus Commons, Building 1
University of Maryland
Beyond the Classroom Living & Learning Program
College Park, MD 20742
United States
Google map and directions
Dr. James Riker · · 301-314-6622

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is hosting. 2014-10-23 11:08:10 -0700
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