FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 16, 2013
Contact: Kim Jondahl
BISMARCK — The public is invited to attend the free Bismarck premiere of the film, The Road to Little Rock, on Friday, Sept. 20 at Bismarck State College, Sidney J. Lee Auditorium at 7 p.m. The 30-minute film will be followed with a talk by Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine students. The event is hosted by the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
“This is a rare and special opportunity to meet a key figure in an important civil rights event that changed the course of public school education in the United States,” said Kim Jondahl, Communications and Education director with the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
The Road to Little Rock film tells the 1957 story of Federal Judge Ronald Davies’ role in the integration of Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. Judge Davies, a U.S. District Court judge from Fargo, ND, was asked to go to Little Rock, Arkansas, to help with an overload of cases. At that time, many school districts continued to ignore the 1954 Supreme Court ruling which declared segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Fargo U.S. District Court Judge Davies made a critical ruling for integration during this civil rights crisis. The film features never-seen-before interviews with three members of the Little Rock Nine and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
The Road to Little Rock was produced by Video Arts Studios of Fargo in collaboration with Fargo Public Schools. A Road to Little Rock school curriculum will be available to all North Dakota schools in fall 2013. The Road to Little Rock is sponsored in part by Bell State Bank & Trust, The Forum, Ron D. Offutt Family Foundation, University of North Dakota and the UND Foundation and Alumni Association. The project is supported in part by grants from the Arkansas and North Dakota Humanities Councils, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State Historical Society of North Dakota with funding from the North Dakota Legislature. Friday evening’s event is partially sponsored by the Bismarck Tribune.
Dr. Roberts will also serve as keynote for the free public Governor’s History Conference on Saturday, Sept. 21, sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Civil rights and social justice topics will be addressed. More details can be found at history.nd.gov/conference.
For more information, contact Kim Jondahl, State Historical Society, at 701.328.1476.
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