Jule Collins Smith Museum to screen film exploring civil rights struggle

AUBURN – The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University will present the documentary film “Dare Not Walk Alone” on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. as part of the Southern Arts Federation’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. Following the screening of his film, producer/director Jeremy Dean will engage the audience in a discussion about the film and his work as a filmmaker.

The Museum Cafe will offer its lunch menu before the movie from 5 -6 p.m. Go to www.jcsm.auburn.edu for the menu.

“Dare Not Walk Alone” uses interviews and rarely seen news footage about an incident in St. Augustine, Fla. in the mid-1960s that received worldwide publicity and may have influenced passage of the Civil Rights Act into law.

On June 18, 1964, a white hotel owner in St. Augustine poured acid into a swimming pool filled with black and white youths conducting a civil rights demonstration. Photographs of this incident were on the front page of major newspapers around the world and broke the filibuster in the Senate allowing President Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act into law. “Dare Not Walk Alone” reveals the story of the St. Augustine movement that led to this historic legislation.

The film also looks at the aftermath of desegregation and the realities of life today on streets where those campaigns were fought, in a place that symbolizes what Barack Obama has called “the gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of our time.”

As the son of missionaries, Jeremy Dean spent his youth traveling the world and was exposed to numerous cultures and the struggles of indigenous peoples. He was immersed in the jungles of Central and South America and Asia. He also traveled throughout Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and the South Pacific.

He had to learn to survive by dealing with tribal customs and local traditions that sparked an interest in finding connections between diverse parts of the world. Dean returned to the United States to finish his formal education, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Flagler College in St. Augustine in 2002. In 2003, Dean attended the University of the Nations School of Digital Filmmaking in Kona, Hawaii where he wrote and directed the short film “Vanity.”

On his return to St. Augustine, Jeremy moved into a largely impoverished African American neighborhood and subsequently learned of the momentous civil rights struggle that took place in that community 40 years earlier. He joined a local church, formed friendships and began to document the life stories of people who had led the way for freedom so many years ago. These stories became the basis for his first feature-length film, “Dare Not Walk Alone.”

The film has screened at numerous festivals, including the Atlanta Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, Jacksonville Film Festival, Sarasota International Film Festival, Connecticut Film Festival, San Francisco Black Film Festival and the Western New York Black Film Festival. It received the Audience Award from Deep Focus Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio.

The Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers is a program of the Southern Arts Federation, a not-for-profit regional arts organization making a positive difference in the arts throughout the South since 1975. For more information on the Southern Arts Federation and its programs visit www.southarts.org.

The film series is presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jule Collins Smith Museum. For a listing of upcoming films in the series, go to http://jcsm.auburn.edu/edu/09_09_sc_film_festival.php.

(Contributed by Colleen Bourdeau.)

Contact: Colleen Bourdeau, (334) 844-7075 (cst0001@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)