Center for African American Studies to screen documentaries

April 24, 2009, 12:40 p.m.

Princeton's Center for African American Studies is sponsoring a documentary film series titled, "Race.Space.Place." in the auditorium of the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton beginning Wednesday, April 29.

All films will begin at 6 p.m., and a facilitated discussion will follow each screening. The film series is free and open to the public.

"We intend for this series to model ways of talking through complicated racial landscapes," said Noliwe Rooks, the center's associate director, "and we're excited to involve the broader community in these important discussions."

Co-sponsored by the New Jersey State Museum, "Race. Space. Place." focuses on race and urban issues, highlighting such topics as home ownership, homelessness, immigration, gentrification, ethnic and racial tensions, and environmental justice. The series is part of the Center for African American Studies' art and social justice initiative.

The dates and films are:

Wednesday, April 29 -- "The Garden" (2007), an Academy Award-nominated documentary that follows the plight of the South Central Farmers as they fight to save their 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles from a wealthy developer. The film raises crucial and challenging questions about liberty, equality and justice for the poorest and most vulnerable.

Thursday, April 30 -- "Neo-African Americans" (2008), which explores how rapid immigration from Africa and the Caribbean is transforming the meaning of "African American" identity.

Wednesday, May 6 -- "Home" (2005), which tells the story of single mother Sheree Farmer and her quest to escape a gang-infested neighborhood and find a decent home for her six kids. Directed by Jeffrey Togman, this heartbreaking documentary examines the uphill battle many face in chasing the American Dream.

Thursday, May 7 -- "Flag Wars" (2003), which was shot over four years. It is a poignant account of economic competition between two historically oppressed groups -- the African American community and the gay and lesbian community -- as seen through the politics and pain of gentrification.

Tuesday, May 12 -- "Farmingville" (2004), a provocative, complex and emotionally-charged look into the ongoing nationwide controversy surrounding a suburban community, its ever-expanding population of illegal immigrants, and the shocking, hate-based attempted murders of two Mexican day laborers.

Wednesday, May 13 -- Princeton Professor Mitchell Duneier's documentary, "Sidewalk" (2009). Duneier offers a vibrant portrayal of a community in the shadows of public life. A white, middle-class sociologist whose book, "Slim's Table," won plaudits for its nuanced portrait of urban black men, Duneier infiltrated a stretch of lower Sixth Avenue frequented by scavengers, panhandlers and vendors of used and discounted books and magazines. For seven years, he spent nearly every summer and semester break living and working among that community of vendors in a quest to understand the dynamics of class, race and economics in America's inner cities.

For more information on "Race.Space.Place." visit the Center for African American Studies website or call (609) 258-4270.