Film screening and discussion: “The Hidden History of 1970s Black Youth Protest in Columbus and the Fight for Educational Equality”

The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities invites members of the Case Western Reserve University community to a film screening of and discussion on Shutdown, a documentary film about a profound political coming of age that happened in Columbus in turbulent 1971.

This event, titled “The Hidden History of 1970s Black Youth Protest in Columbus and the Fight for Educational Equality,” will be held Wednesday, Feb. 14, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 206.

This film tells the story of a group of passionate Black teens who fought for the equality they believed they deserved—with perilous results. The teens at the center of the story lived in Linden, a community in the throes of a dramatic shift from being a white, working class neighborhood to becoming a predominantly Black working-class enclave. Linden McKinley High School was experiencing that same rapid change. White flight, destructive urban renewal strategies, and racial tension all resulted in the volatile landscape in Linden. Indeed, the entire city of Columbus was experiencing the social and political conflict exploding across the rest of the country. The Vietnam War was raging, the Black Power movement was on the rise, and women were demanding an equal place at the table. The Linden high schoolers who called themselves “The Black Student Union” wanted their school (and their curriculum) to include and reflect Black culture and history. Inspired by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements (and supported by various adults), these teens mobilized themselves and took action. They were not prepared for the harsh and traumatic consequences that followed, which left scars that endured for decades. Eventually, however, the actions of this small but mighty group of teens created a domino effect that led all the way to the Supreme Court.

Shutdown is the story of determined Black youth who dared to stand up to the prevailing power structure and not only lived to tell the tale, but ultimately were the catalyst for bigger change than they ever imagined.

A discussion with the film’s producer, Simone Drake, the Hazel C. Youngberg Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at The Ohio State University, will immediately follow the film screening.

Refreshments will be provided.

Register to attend.