Orange Alert

Skip to main content
Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

27th annual MLK Memorial Public Affairs Lecture

Lecture features award-winning filmmaker Louis Massiah

March 3, 2010, by Judy Holmes

Syracuse University’s 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Public Affairs Lecture will feature independent, documentary filmmaker Louis Massiah, who will present “Hayti and the Power of Community Media,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 3 in the Life Sciences Complex Auditorium, Room 001. The lecture is sponsored by the Department of African American Studies (AAS) in the College of Arts and Sciences and is free and open to the public.

Additionally, AAS will host an Open Classroom Discussion: Q & A with Massiah at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 4 in Sims Hall, Room 219. The session is free and open to the public. 

Prior to the lecture, the public is invited to free public screenings of selections of Massiah’s work at the venues listed below:

•    Wednesday, February 24, 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Sims Hall, Room 219, on the SU campus.
•    Saturday, February 27, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Community Folk Art Center, 805 E. Genesee St.

The term “Hayti” is the 19th-century name for the nation that English speakers refer to as Haiti. Massiah uses the term to capture the ways that many African-Americans refer to their communities. His lecture will include a discussion of his current project, “Haytian Stories,” which explores the history of the 200-year relationship between the United States and Haiti. He will focus on power—the political, economic, and cultural power of history—and how cultural workers and community members can access that power.

Massiah’s award-winning films explore historical and political subjects and have been screened at international film festivals and shown on Public Broadcasting Service affiliate stations across the country. He has produced several films for PBS, including two films for the landmark PBS series “Eyes on the Prize II.”

Other works include “W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices;” “Louise Alone Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words,” an oral history portrait of the political activist and Harlem Renaissance cultural worker; “The Bombing of Osage Avenue,” on the 1985 Philadelphia police bombing of the MOVE organization; “Power!” and “A Nation of Law.”

Massiah is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship  (1996-2001) for his documentary filmmaking. He has received awards from Columbia-DuPont, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Global Village Documentary Festival, the National Black Programming Consortium, the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and several Emmy award nominations. He was selected for a Pew fellowship and two Rockefeller Intercultural Fellowships.  In 1999, he was selected to receive the Paul Robeson Award for Social Justice from Philadelphia's Bread and Roses Community Foundation. 

He is the founder and executive director of the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, a media arts organization that provides low-cost workshops and equipment access to emerging video/filmmakers and community organizations.

Massiah received a B.A. (College Scholar) from Cornell University and a master’s degree in documentary filmmaking from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an artist-in-residence and on the faculty of City College of New York, Princeton University, Ithaca College, the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, American University and Haverford College. In 2009 he was a Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.