African American

"THE HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN CINAMA" - New Exhibit Opens Sunday August 13, 2017

This exhibit traces the complex and contested history of the African Americans in the motion picture industry. Some items on display are courtesy of the African Americans in Film Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

The exhibit also features Juan Antonio, a Rockford native who plays "Philip" on Fox's hit television show Empire (2015). His other appearances are Murder in the First (2014) and Gemini (2017). He has done guest spots in Modern Family and How to Get Away with Murder. His breakout role was the lead in Beyonce Knowles's Best Thing I Never Had music video. Juan has appeared in two Super Bowl commercials and on pages of numerous magazines.

The exhibit spotlights The Great Banana Pie Caper (1978) shot almost entirely in Rockford and named Best Christian Children Film by the Christian Film Distributors Association

Join us on Sun., August 13th to kick-off this new exhibit with a special viewing of St. Louis Blues. It will be shown in the Lockwood Gallery starting at 2:30 p.m. St. Louis Blues is a 1958 American film classic broadly based on the life of W.C. Handy, the Father of Blues. Enjoy the music of jazz and blues greats Nat "King" Cole, Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt and Barney Bigard as well as gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and actress Ruby Dee.  The film soundtrack uses over ten of Handy's songs including the title song.

Children of All Ages will enjoy this St. Louis Blues viewing as well as touring the African American Gallery to learn more about "The History of African Americans in Cinema." The exhibit is on display every Sunday from August 13th to mid November 2017.