In honor of Black History Month, the Library of Virginia presents a preview screening of the documentary film Current: A Descendant’s Journey for Truth followed by a discussion with producer Pam Smith, director Loria King and other members of the film’s team. The free event will be held on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, 2 to 4 p.m., in the Library’s Lecture Hall. Registration is required at https://lva-virginia.
libcal.com/event/11899342.In this educational film, Smith rides the rivers and walks the land that brought enslaved people to the shores of Virginia and to the places of their bondage and resistance. “As we examine the legacies of enslavement and what it will take for our country to repair and heal,” said Smith, “we explore the question, ‘Why is it important to tell the truth about history?’”This screening features the Virginia portion of the film, shot in Richmond, Charlottesville and Arlington. It includes commentary by Virginia artists, teachers, students, librarians, historians, family history researchers, faith leaders, social justice advocates and others, including Jenna Owens with the Getting Word African American Oral History Project at Monticello, genealogist Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy and historian and author Edward Ayers.Producer Pam Smith, a historian and genealogist, often does research at the Library of Virginia. She recently donated to the Library her African American research about enslavement on the land today occupied by Richmond Hill, a former Catholic convent and school in Richmond’s Historic St. John’s Church Historic District. Smith’s work while in residency at Richmond Hill from 2019 to 2022 is known as The Judy Project. She is a descendant of Matilda (Lewis) Threlkeld, who was the enslaved biological granddaughter of Lucy Jefferson Lewis, sister to Thomas Jefferson, which makes Matilda the enslaved niece of Thomas Jefferson.Director Loria King is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker and film professor who has taught filmmaking in Africa, Asia and South America. She currently serves on the advisory board for the Global Institute for Black Girls in Film & Media. King is also a descendant of people enslaved by Thomas Jefferson.
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