Holding Fast The Dream: Hawai‘i's African American Experience
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(May 16, 2011)
From a freed slave from New York to President Barack Obama, African Americans have lived and thrived in--and contributed to Hawai‘i for two centuries. But their remarkable contributions have languished in obscurity, ignored by history books, and remain unknown even within the islands’ Black community.
"Holding Fast The Dream: Hawaii's African American Experience" chronicles their compelling stories: a young Black researcher whose scientific breakthrough in treating Hansen’s Disease was stolen, and who then died in obscurity...the tragedy of racism in a multicultural paradise...and the significant achievements of Hawai‘i’s African Americans in science, social justice, and the arts.
It’s the story of creating community based on shared stories that offer support and strength. The search for identity in a multicultural society. And the quest for acknowledgment and recognition in defiance of their small numbers. "Holding Fast The Dream" is a story unique to Hawai‘i, but one that reflects the universal desire for connection and respect.
"Holding Fast The Dream" premiered at the 2010 Hawai‘i International Film Festival. It was a featured selection of the 2011 San Diego Black Film Festival, and received its broadcast premiere in March 2011 on PBS Hawai‘i.
DVD extras include extended interviews with experts featured in the film, and additional profiles of leading African American individuals in Hawai‘i.
For more information, see our website: www.holdingthedream.org
For private home use only. Groups and organizations wishing to screen the film for their members, and other requests involving public exhibition must contact us at email@example.com.
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Top customer reviews
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This is the type of doc that a news channel would make. It doesn't have the quality of what one would see on PBS or the History Channel.
I thought this would start with World War II and all the Black soldiers that arrived on the islands then. However, it practically goes back to Captain Cook.
The work tries to be diverse in terms of profession. You do see singers and veterans here. However, I did think the work dwelled a little more on the elite (e.g., doctors and lawyers) than it should have.
Since Obama's rise, everybody has heard the contested term "postracial." One may think that Hawaii is soooo diverse that Blacks would easily be accepted here. Luckily, the work shows something more complicated. While the doc shows Blacks who love the state immensely, many say there is anti-Black racism there. Some of the figures discussed in the work eventually returned to the Mainland due to racism in the Pacific.
Hawaii supposedly has a HUGE percentage of multiracial residents. One woman of Black and Asian descent is interviewed. What was really diverse was seeing a Black musician who had been adopted by either a Polynesian or Asian family. Still, I do think they could have shown even more multiracial Blacks than present.
People who enjoy this doc should also read Beth Bailey's book "The First Strange Place."