The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom brought more than a quarter million people into the nation’s capital for one of the most monumental rallies in American history.

Fifty years later, Robert Raben is hoping to bring together District residents for the March on Washington Film Festival.

From July 16 to July 25, films will be shown, free of charge, in several Washington, D.C. hotspots including Busboys and Poets, The Newseum, and National Museum of Women in the Arts. The films will address the impact of the civil rights struggle on America.

“We’re excited to present quality programming, films telling our story about the Civil Rights struggle,” said Raben, founder of the Raben Group, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., in a recent interview on Fox 5 News. “It would be important for people to come witness the films.”

According to Raben, history is often viewed through just a policy or history lens and people often forget the personal impact on the people affected by important segments in history.

“These films take it away from the policy and the abstract to the personal,” he said.

Films shown during the festival include The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords, To Kill a Mockingbird, Spike Lee’s chilling documentary Four Little Girls and a host of films detailing the plight of Blacks in America battling the Jim Crow south.

“The stories are powerful… Documentaries tend to be very important contributors to the historical fact on record,” said Raben.

Raben said the recent verdict of not guilty in the George Zimmerman trial is a wake up call for Blacks and Americans to take notice of their personal contributions to history.

“We got a verdict the other night which troubled a lot of people,” said Raben. “It caused a lot of people to stop and reflect…What am I doing to make the world a better place? What am I doing to make the world a safer and more fair place?…Films can help you do that.”


Krishana Davis

AFRO Staff Writers