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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Director Tilghman is a black Michael Moore - providing thought-provoking questions with a bit of self-deprecating humor., January 20, 2013
This review is from: Independent Lens: More Than a Month (DVD)
Director Tilghman is a black Michael Moore - providing thought-provoking questions with a bit of self-deprecating humor. DVD has 15 minutes of outtakes.

This 2011 documentary may have aired on PBS last year- or it may be airing next month (February 2013) as part of Black History Month - but it's making it's home video debut on January 29, 2013. And what a timely piece!

Though it's rare important for a reviewer to state their ethnic heritage in a review, I feel it helpful to state that I am not an African-American. I found the "question" raided by documentary filmmaker Shukee Hassan Tilghman - Should we end Black History Month (and make it part of the core history programs in American history in school curriculum)? - a fascinating one. Here was a young (he appears to be in his late 20s) black man who is asking the question. As he interviews his parents and heads to New York, Atlanta and Philadelphia to do interviews, he questions his own question. The first part of the film - where he sets out to have people sign petitions in Times Square reminds me a lot of Michael Moore's films. Both are self-narrated. It gets a bit more serious - but not mundane - as the 54-minute film continues. I certainly enjoyed it and at gave me "food for thought".

The DVD has seven "deleted scenes" - each running about 2-minutes. One titled "Good, Bad and Ugly History" obviously had to be excised for public TV showing. It features a black woman who collects the often-shocking racist advertising images that were produced in the early 20th Century. This is one deleted scene that I recommend that any parent of a child under 12 years old preview first - before showing to their child. There needs to be an discussion as to why these images existed. Yes, they were shocking to me - a white male adult.

I'd love to see what Tilghman does next. This is a great beginning for a documentary career.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 27, 2014 7:24:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2014 7:28:45 PM PST
Steve Kohn says:
I also liked the film, but thought Morgan Freeman's argument -- in the very first minutes, in fact -- wasn't sufficiently acknowledged, developed or discussed.

One argument for ending the event that I didn't hear in the film is that Black History Month may be counterproductive. Other groups silently question the need for this event and resent what they feel is merely another example of affirmative action or black victimhood. Other Americans look at the black heroes (King, Tubman, Parks and Douglas) and say, "That's all you got? What about my heroes? What about the melting pot? Why are we trying to Balkanize ourselves?"

At almost 70 and a wide reader of history, I've come to approach some understanding of how interwoven blacks are in American history (and how separate). Declaring a month for black history is, as the narrator said, to minimize black contributions to America (music, sports, arts, among others), to imply that blacks are different enough to not even be American.

One of the most profound observations in the film was made by a young teenage girl in braces sitting in her bedroom.

At one time, we learn in the film, America had Black History Week. Today, as segregation and inequality are legally (and, as I see it, effectively) banished, I propose it should be Black History Day. A day for all Americans to reflect on the great black figures in history, to honor their lives. And then, for some of us who merely have a darker skin, to go on being not African-Americans, but Americans.
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