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The Picture House to Show ‘Freedom Summer’ in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Deaths of Civil Rights Workers Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney

FREE June 22nd at 5pm Screening to Kick-Off Ongoing Town-wide Tribute to Pelham Resident Michael Schwerner

June 9, 2014 – Pelham, NY – As part of an ongoing Pelham-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the deaths of Civil Rights workers Michael Schwerner – a Pelham resident and graduate of Pelham Memorial High School,—James Earl Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, The Picture House will screen the important documentary Freedom Summer directed by Stanley Nelson on Sunday, June 22nd at 5pm. The film will be shown at The Picture House ahead of its June 24th premiere on American Experience on PBS and will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with an expert panel moderated by Lawrence Weschler.

The documentary film, recounts the events of the deadly summer of 1964—known as Freedom Summer—when more than 700 students volunteered to join with organizers and the African American community in an historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi.­—even in the face of intimidation, physical violence, and death. After the first week of training, the volunteers learned that three members of their group— Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney— were missing in Mississippi. As the days passed and the young men were not heard from, people began to fear the worst and ultimately the three civil rights workers were found dead, murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.

The post-screening panel will include former dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and The New Yorker staff writer,Nicholas Lemann,and Dr. John Howard, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Purchase College, The State University of New York. The discussion will be led by author and academic Lawrence Weschler. Weschler, is director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, and the artistic director emeritus, still actively engaged, of the Chicago Humanities Festival. He is curator for New York Live Ideas, an annual body-based humanities collaboration with Bill T. Jones and his NY Live Arts. The 2014 NY Live Ideas Festival was given over to James Baldwin This Time. Weschler is the author of fourteen books, including Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders (shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award) and his latest, Uncanny Valley. Weschler was, for over twenty years, a staff writer for The New Yorker.

Author and journalist Nicholas Lemann was formerly dean and Henry R. Luce professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. He has published five books, most recently Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (2006); The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (1999); and The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (1991), which won several book prizes. He has written widely for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and Slate. Lemann continues to contribute to The New Yorker as a staff writer.

Dr. John Howard, formerly Dean, Division of Social Sciences and Assistant Vice President, Academic Affairs, Purchase College, The State University of New York, has extensive experience practicing Criminal Appeals and Immigration Law, and has taught Criminal Law and Constitutional Law as well as authored several books including The Shifting Wind: The Supreme Court and Civil Rights From Reconstruction to Brown.

This event is the first of several events in a year-long commemoration. In November, close to election day and Michael Schwerner’s birthday, Pelham will host a number of activities, including a keynote speech by Nicholas Lemann. The Picture House Evening Film Club for students in grades 9 through 12, is currently creating a film inspired by Michael Schwerner’s commitment and sacrifice, on the theme of “What price freedom?” which will be shown in by the fall. The June 22nd screening and post film discussion and Q&Ais FREE and open to the general public. Tickets are available at or at the box office, 175 Wolfs Lane, Pelham, NY 10803.