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Tell Them We Are Rising - Masthead

#HBCURising Campus Tour

January 8, 2018 

  • Reception and Q&A with director Stanley Nelson (Estey Hall - President's Conference Room)
  • Film Screening (Thomas J. Boyd Chapel)

RSVP for Event

January 30, 2018

  • Shaw University, North Carolina Central University and UNC-TV will collaborate to host an HBCU roundtable discussion at UNC-TV. More details to follow.

About the Project 

A haven for Black intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries—and path of promise toward the American dream—Black colleges and universities have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field. They have been unapologetically Black for 150 years. For the first time ever, their story is told. Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities examines the impact HBCUs have had on American history, culture, and national identity.  Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities will air nationally on the acclaimed PBS series, Independent Lens on Monday, February 19, 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). Stanley Nelson’s Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is the centerpiece of a yearlong multi-platform effort called HBCU Rising - Featuring partnerships with national organizations, exclusive events, StoryCorps audio stories, video shorts, HBCU campus tour and a crowdsourced HBCU Digital Yearbook, HBCU Rising will examine and celebrate the legacy of HBCUs. 

Filmmaker Bio

Stanley Nelson has been acknowledged as one of the preeminent documentary filmmakers of our time. He has directed and produced over twelve documentary features, including: Black Panthers:Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Summer, Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple and The Murder of Emmett Till. Nelson’s latest film, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim.

Nelson has won every major award in broadcasting. In 2016, he was honored with a Lifetime Peabody Award, a Lifetime Emmy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association. He is a 2014 National Humanities Medalist, multiple Emmy Award winner, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His film, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution premiered at Sundance, and went on to screen theatrically in 60 cities before breaking broadcast and social media records during its broadcast premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens in February 2016.  Nelson’s 2003 film, The Murder of Emmett Till, won the Primetime Emmy for Best Nonfiction Directing, the Special Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, a Peabody and an award from the International Documentary Association, among many others.

Nelson has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio programs, including PBS NewsHour, CBS Sunday Morning, NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Fresh Air,Oprah, Melissa Harris-Perry, and many others. He holds a BFA from City College of New York, and Honorary Doctorates from Duke and Haverford College. He has taught documentary film production at Howard University, Brooklyn College, and the University of California, Berkeley and guest lectured at universities and film schools around the world. 

Nelson is also co-founder of Firelight Media, a nonprofit production company dedicated to using historical film to advance contemporary social justice causes, and to mentoring, inspiring and training a new generation of diverse young filmmakers committed to advancing underrepresented stories.

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