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ITC celebrates Black History Month with classic films, folktales

(Feb. 3, 2005)--UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) celebrates Black History Month with a documentary, classic films, an African folktale puppet show, an African-American exhibit, library and photo archives with resources on African-American Texans.

Throughout February, the documentary, "A Century of Black Cinema," will be shown at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday.

Visitors can see "Anansi the Spider Man," a puppet show based on an African folk tale, at noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 3 p.m., Saturdays in the Bluebonnet Puppet Theater, and learn more about African-American Texans in the ITC library and photo archive from noon to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

The Classics of Black Cinema Series includes vintage films made from 1919 to 1954 by Hollywood studios and black independent film makers. Earley B. Teal, Buffalo soldier reenactor and actor, and Mary Grace Ketner, ITC educational specialist, will host the feature films throughout February. All showings are at 6:30 p.m.

The Classics of Black Cinema Series series schedule is:

  • Thursday, Feb. 17: "Harlem Rides the Range" (1939). The Bronze Buckaroo foils the villain, saves the uranium mine and captures the heart of the heroine in this matinee favorite starring Herb Jeffries, Spencer Williams and The Four Tones.
  • Friday, Feb. 18: "Emperor Jones" (1933). Paul Robeson gives heroic dimension to Brutus Jones, railroad porter cum Caribbean king, who is ultimately destroyed by his own arrogance. From a play by Eugene O'Neill.
  • Saturday, Feb. 19: "Within Our Gates" (1919). Visionary black director Oscar Micheaux created this unflinching response to D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation," a litany of sins against a southern black schoolteacher and her family during Jim Crow days. Silent film accompanied by live music.
  • Thursday, Feb. 24: "The Duke Is Tops" (1938). The featured star of this musical is Ralph Cooper, the "Black Bogart," but by the time it was re-released in 1943 as "Bronze Venus," it was Lena Horne who was "tops."
  • Friday, Feb. 25: "The Jackie Robinson Story" (1950). Produced only three years after he took his place on second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first black player in major league baseball, this film biography stars Jackie Robinson as himself and Ruby Dee as his wife, Rae.
  • Saturday, Feb. 26: "Carmen Jones" (1954). Set to music from Bizet's "Carmen" with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, this Otto Preminger musical made Dorothy Dandridge the first black actress to be nominated for an Oscar. Also starring Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll.

Admission, including that day's feature film and documentary, is: adults, $7; seniors (65 years and older), $4; military personnel (I.D. required), $4; children 3-12 years of age, $4; children 2 years of age and under, free.

Visitors can purchase a Black History Month Superticket for $17, which includes the African-American exhibit, "Anansi the Spider Man," an African folktale puppet show; the daily documentary, "A Century of Black Cinema" and all six feature films. Show your superticket at the ITC store and receive 20 percent off any purchase during February, excluding Feb. 12.

For more information, call (210) 458-2330 or visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site.

--Tina Luther

University Communications
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