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Screenings, panel to highlight Black history

The Example

Lamar University’s Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast will present “Beaumont’s Black History in Moving Pictures,” at 5:30 p.m., Feb. 2, in the Dishman Art Museum auditorium.

The event will showcase the history of the Black community in Beaumont with the screening of two short films, “The Example” and “They Will Talk About Us: The Charlton-Pollard Story.” A panel discussion will follow the screenings.

Panelist and local historian, Judith Linsley said it is necessary to open a conversation about these films. “The Example” is a fictionalized account of the 1943 Beaumont race riot, while “They Will Talk About Us” is a documentary about the origins of the oldest Black neighborhood in Beaumont.

“The main goal of this event it to bring awareness to the possibilities of finding out a lot more about just ordinary people and about these groups whose stories have not been told,” Linsley said. “The purpose of this event is to show that there is more information out there, and to just bring more awareness to these forgotten events and areas of Beaumont.”

Also on the panel will be creators behind the films, Gordon S. Williams, Jonathan Tippett, and Wyatt Cagle.

The two projects have had a large impact on the local community, especially with the 80th anniversary of the race riot in June. Linsley said the films are sure to spark impactful conversation as they recount real events that uncover the history of the Black community in Beaumont.

“There’s not a lot of documentation about what exactly went on because it was wartime,” she said. “But the race riot was started by white shipyard workers who walked through the Old North End neighborhood, an upper-middle-class Black neighborhood, and just did a lot of destruction.”

They Will Talk About Us

“The Example” is the first film to tell the story of the 1943 Beaumont race riot. It was written and produced by Williams, LUTV station operations manager.

“(Williams’) take on it is actually how Black families and white families responded to the riot, and writes it in a fictional way,” Linsley said. “I thought he did a really good job of balancing the two perspectives.”

“They Will Talk About Us: The Charlton-Pollard Story,” is also produced by Williams. It documents the history of the oldest neighborhood in Beaumont, Charlton-Pollard.

“He focuses on the sense of that particular neighborhood that people in my generation grew up with,” Linsley said. “It was pretty much a self-sustaining neighborhood. It had every retail business, medical clinic, drugstore, nightlife — everything that you could possibly want. I love to hear the stories of the people who grew up there.”

Linsley said she encourages students and the public to take part in this free event to start meaningful conversations about the Black history of Beaumont.

“Attend,” she said. “Because you’re going to see a lot of interesting information that you didn’t know, and it may spur your interest to learn some more.”

The Dishman Art Museum is located on the corner of MLK. Parkway and East Lavaca on the Lamar University campus.

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Category: Features