The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Education

June 10, 2014

Film series celebrates impact of civil rights leader

Black Expo event includes panel discussion

ANDERSON — Expanding your knowledge and educating yourself to get the discussion going.

Sylvia Bogle said that's what the Black Expo Film Festival is all about. Coincidentally, those are also the ideas and virtues that Whitney Young — the subject of Tuesday night's movie, "The Powerbroker" — tried to impart to the nation.

Not just to the African American community, but to all of America.

The film was screened at the Madison County Community Health Center on Tuesday night to about 50 people, and was followed by a panel discussion among several community leaders, including Bogle.

Young, an instrumental leader of the black community during segregation and a paradigm-shifting former president of the National Urban League, was called "the inside man of the Civil Rights Movement" in the film.

Several speakers on the panel, including Bogue, said they owed advances in race relations that have shaped their lives to the efforts of Young and other civil rights leaders. Bogue is a former member of the Urban League.

"The purpose of this film series is to expand your mind, and that's why I'm here," she said.

Young died in 1971, when many said his intellectual and capitalistic approach to the Civil Rights Movement was needed most, according to the film. He had the ear of three presidents — John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon — during a time where racial tensions were high.

Young used diplomacy to pave the way for the advancement of blacks in the business world.

Tony Malone, director of the community health center, called the film's topic an allegory for how race relations should be approached today, when blacks still do not have the same opportunities as their white counterparts.

Malone said Young's spirit is "in my DNA."

"It's about whites and blacks learning to live together," he explained. "We're all dependent on each other, and that's something we need to be aware of, especially today and in this community. We need to look at ways to bring younger people back here to Anderson. We can look at what Whitney did."

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