Free Screening of "The Contradictions of Fair Hope"- Discussion with S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf

Submitted by lmcshane on Fri, 08/03/2012 - 07:15.
09/08/2012 - 14:00
09/08/2012 - 16:00

The Contradictions of Fair Hope highlights a long-forgotten and fascinating aspect of American history when newly freed slaves responded to the shock of Emancipation by forming “self-help” organizations called benevolent societies to help ease the transition from slavery to freedom.

Saturday, September 8, 2012 • 2:00 p.m.
Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium
East Sixth St. and Superior Ave.

Parental discretion is advised. Portions of this film may not be suitable for younger audiences.

For more information about this event, contact Cleveland Public Library’s Outreach and Programming Services Department at 216-623-2921.


The film will be followed by an interactive discussion with Executive Director S. Epatha Merkerson and Executive Producer, Co-Writer and Director, Rockell Metcalf. The Contradictions of Fair Hope is their first feature film project.



325 Superior Ave
Cleveland , OH 44114
United States
Phone: 216-623-2921
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Video Clip of co-producers S. Epatha Merkerson and Rockell Metcalf from the presentation of The Contradictions of Fair Hope in Boston.  Cleveland was fortunate to also be on the tour for the presentation of this documentary with a similar Q & A at the Cleveland Public Library.

I am glad I saw the preview of this documentary and know that the producers are seeking wider distribution with a tour of college campuses and the next showing at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture.  The film revisits our troubled past with a revelation that is not limited to African-American culture--as the lessons imparted apply to all of the multitude of cultures in America today facing a loss of historical perspective, and an appreciation for the efforts to shape community and the sacrifices made by our ancestors.  The film may be shocking for some viewers because it reveals how what was once a community turnout to celebrate the fall harvest has morphed into the lewd Uniontown Foot Wash festival.

Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Reverend Leah Lewis appropriately and graciously introduced the film with a reflection on the sacred, profane, and mundane in our lives.  At the Q&A in Cleveland, the audience also learned more about the film makers, including S. Epatha Merkerson's family history in Detroit and she was visibly moved by the appearance of a male friend from her high school who made the trip to Cleveland to see her at the film presentation in Cleveland. Another audience member at the Q&A noted that the bad behavior seen in The Contradiction of Fair Hope is not limited to African American culture--she mentioned that the same kind of bacchanalia occurs in Sturgis, North Dakota (for me, I was unpleasantly reminded of frat parties during my own college days). 

At the conclusion of the talk, Ms. Merkerson also asked that the audience "like" the film on Facebook and Twitter and requested that we use social media to engage folks to see, discuss and promote the documentary.  I hope to see it again on PBS--though there will be portions of the film that will obviously be brushed out for a wider audience.


More great opportunities to ENGAGE

Please make this 3000 hits

  The film previewed at CPL is a valiant effort to address a breakdown in our society. This breakdown is not isolated to African-American culture.  The enslavement of women is on-going.  And, the corruption of law enforcement and definition of property continues to be of issue in America.  Talk about it.  Let's work to improve our society in America.  Sexuality is a difficult topic.  Don't bury it.