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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Office of Diversity & Inclusion

International Diversity Film Series

Office of Diversity & Inclusion's International Diversity Film Series promotes the benefits of global diversity. Selected films are 30-minute documentaries that are followed by a question and answer period.

Black History – February


The Underground Railroad

"The first civil rights movement," was no mere act of civil disobedience. The secret network of guides, pilots, and safe-house keepers (the Railroad's "conductors") was built by runaway slaves who, over the decades, communicated their experiences through songs and secret gestures, and were supported by abolitionists (many of them former slaves) who risked their own freedom to help free the enslaved. The "passengers" risked their lives. Historians from Princeton and Howard Universities tell stories that enlighten us about what it was like to use the Underground Railroad to escape to freedom.

American History


The Candidate

Kevin Antoine was the first African American to win a major political party's (Democratic) nomination for the United States House of Representatives in Mississippi's majority-White Fourth Congressional District. His nomination upset the Mississippi political establishment. Though he lost the general election his efforts helped African-Americans gain more political and economic leverage in a state where African-Americans are almost 40% of the population. Winner of the Best Political Documentary Award at the 2007 New York International Film & Video Festival.

Women's History – March


Susan B. Anthony Rebel for the Cause

For over half a century, she endured threats and ridicule in her tireless quest for reform. She did not live to see the victory she helped bring about. Susan B. Anthony earned her place in history as an unstoppable crusader for woman's suffrage, helping found America's first major civil rights movement. She would devote the rest of her life to the cause. Here, dramatic re-enactments bring the pivotal moments of her crusade to life including her 1872 arrest for daring to vote while historians reflect on her vital legacy.

Asian-Pacific History – May


Roots in the Sand

The trials and tribulations of Punjabi immigrants on the American frontier. Combining archival material, personal interviews, tells the story of the "immigrants from India to California at the turn of the 20th century through the eyes of Sikh, Moslem, and Hindu settlers.

Hispanic History – October


Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez was a Mexican-American labor leader who used non-violent methods to fight for the rights of migrant farm workers in the southwestern USA. Migrant farm workers are people who do farm labor, moving from farm to farm and from town to town as their work is needed - it is difficult work that pays very little and can be dangerous due to the use of pesticides.

Native American History – November


Jim Thorpe

A biography of the Native American athlete who became a sports icon in the first half of the 20th century. Beginning with Thorpe's boyhood in Indian Territory it chronicles his rise to athletic stardom at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, winning two gold medals at the 1912 Summer Olympics, his fall from grace in the eyes of the amateur athletic establishment, and his rebound in professional baseball and football. Thorpe retired from pro sports at age 41 just before the stock market crash of 1929. He worked as a construction laborer before getting work in Hollywood as a bit part player. He became a representative for Indian extras in Hollywood, fighting for equal pay for Native Americans in the movies. In the 1940s, he crisscrossed the nation as a public speaker advocating for Indian self-determination.