Portrait of African American writer Paul Laurence Dunbar

View documentary screening of 'Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask' with filmmaker

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019

SCAD Museum of Art, theater

Savannah, GA

601 Turner Blvd.

The first African American writer to gain international fame gets his due in the feature-length documentary Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask. Join the filmmaker, Frederick Lewis, for the screening, followed by an in-depth discussion.

Born to former slaves in Dayton, Ohio, where he was boyhood friends with the Wright Brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar is best remembered for his poem We Wear the Mask and for lines from Sympathy that became the title of Maya Angelou’s famous autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. A clip of Angelou reciting Dunbar’s poem is featured in the film.

Dunbar’s story is also the story of the African American experience at the start of the 20th century. The man Frederick Douglass called “the most promising young colored man in America” wrote widely published essays critical of Jim Crow laws and lynching.

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Writer, director, and co-producer Frederick Lewis is a professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies at Ohio University. His previous documentaries have screened on PBS stations throughout the U.S. and at nearly 100 cultural and educational venues, including the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the Lake Placid Film Forum, New York, and the Explorers Club in New York.

Lewis is a recipient of the Presidential Teacher Award, Ohio University’s highest honor for transformative teaching, curriculum innovation, and mentoring. He has served as a Fulbright specialist in Hungary and a U.S. Embassy lecturer in Germany and Malaysia. He has taught and lectured in England, France, Romania, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

This screening is free and open to the public.