Black History Film Series debuts Friday in La Villita

Free outdoor events will have Q&A with guests after each film

Black History Film Series debuts Friday in La Villita
Black History Film Series debuts Friday in La Villita

SAN ANTONIO – The first in the Black History Film Series will debut at dusk Friday evening outside the Cos House in La Villita near the Arneson River Theater.

The free events over the next few months also will feature guest panelists, audience interaction via text, and food trucks.

It will be the first film series sponsored by the San Antonio African-American Archive and Community Museum.

Deborah Omewalde Jarmon, SAACAM executive director, said, “It will give people an opportunity to explore, understand and interact with history that has made an impact on south central Texas.”

Jarmon stressed masks and social distancing will be required.

She said the audience also will be able to text their questions to the panelists.

The first film “When I Rise,” directed by Matt Hames, is the story of Barbara Smith Conrad, who was a world-renowned mezzo soprano.

Barbara is an icon. I mean, she really was a civil rights icon, but people don’t know about her,” Hames said. “I hope the film changes that.”

She was among the first African American students enrolled in UT Austin who faced backlash after she was chosen as the romantic lead of a white singer in the opera.

“It’s the story of how she fought back and how she eventually became an internationally known opera singer,” Hames said.

He said Conrad even gained the support of others like Harry Belafonte and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Also to be featured in the Black History Film Series will be “Just a Ferry Ride to Freedom,” a documentary produced by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, depicting what was essentially an underground railroad to Mexico.

A complete list of the films that are scheduled or soon to be scheduled, can be found here.

More on KSAT:

Film documents history of Underground Railroad in South Texas

About the Authors: