About a year ago, I was asked if I wanted to be interviewed for a documentary project. Since being a talking head on a documentary is a total Historian Win, I eagerly accepted the invitation. That led to me spending an October afternoon in a Bronx studio, being interviewed by the noted director Ava DuVernay. I’m honored to be a part of DuVernay’s urgent and important documentary, The 13th, which is a powerful, compelling examination of how race, incarceration, and injustice are woven within the very fabric of this country’s history. The 13th will premier this Friday at the New York Film Festival, the first documentary to ever lead that festival. There are a lot of prominent scholars and public figures appearing in the film, and then there’s….me? I’m beyond stoked that I’ll be there this weekend to see the premier and meet others involved in the film (many of whom whose work I admire greatly). I’ll be excited to engage with people in a variety of venues, both this weekend and beyond, and be a part of the crucially important conversations that this film will undoubtedly spark. The 13th will be available on Netflix on October 7. It challenges us to be honest and unblinking in confronting the injustices that have been part and parcel of this country’s history, and I hope its challenge will be accepted by all of us.
I’ll have another post next week that recaps the weekend’s events and reflects on this experience (preview: I am still kind of stunned that I’m a part of all of this. Holy crap.)