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329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day at Rebuild


Celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and explore African American history and culture at the Stony Island Arts Bank. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, movie screenings and readings culled from our archival collections of black history will last throughout the day. Free and open to the public, activities for all ages.

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, Black Cinema House presents a full day of archival films featuring historic moments from the civil rights leader’s time in Chicago, along with audio and video clips exploring the legacy of the movement.

In partnership with the Chicago Film Archives:

Non-Violence: The Message of Mahandas Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  (1975, Sunrise Media Collection)

Producer: Pictura Films for the series Turning Points: America in the Twentieth Century

Filmmakers: Mert Koplin and Charles Grinker | Editor: John Christophel

Reaction Film: Black Power  (1975, Sunrise Media Collection)

Producer: Pictura Films for the series Turning Points: America in the Twentieth Century

Filmmakers: Mert Koplin and Charles Grinker | Editor: John Christophel

Cicero March  (1966, Film Group Collection)

Camera: Mike Shea | Sound: Mike Gray | Editor: Jay Litvin

In partnership with Media Burn Archive:

Audio: This Train (Studs Terkel, 1963)/ Video: Historical news footage of the March on Washington (1963) (45 seconds).

Historical news footage (1964, 8 minutes)

Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks at an event celebrating the enactment of the Civil Rights Act.

Historical news footage (1954/1968, 40 seconds)

Dr. King speaks at Soldier Field, June 21, 1954, followed by footage of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s press conference giving his infamous “Shoot to kill” order on April 8, 1968.

Excerpt from Daley (Tom Weinberg, 1986, 5 minutes)

John Callaway interviews Daley’s longtime press secretary, Earl Bush, about Daley’s response to the unrest sparked by Dr. King’s assassination.

Historical news footage (year unknown, 30 seconds)

Dr. King speaks on his involvement in Chicago.

Audio only: WBBM radio report on the assassination of Dr. King (1968, 7 minutes).

Historical news footage (1968, 1 minute)

Footage of Dr. King’s casket being loaded onto a plane.

Historical news footage (1968, 3 minutes)

Early responses to Dr. King’s assassination.

Outtake from THE 90’s Election Specials (Andrew Jones, 1992, 1 minute)

Congressman Charles Hayes (D-IL), who was elected to fill the vacant House seat of Harold Washington after he became mayor in 1983, talks about marching with Dr. King in Chicago.

Excerpt from Dovie Thurman, A Conversation with Studs Terkel (produced by the Chicago Video Project of Communications for Change, Community TV Network, and Community Media Workshop, 1997, 4 minutes)

Dovie Thurman, community organizer & the “heart” of Uptown speaks with Studs Terkel about her reaction to Dr. King’s assassination.

Excerpt from Omnibus: Studs Terkel’s Chicago (Mike Dibb, 1985, 2 minutes)

Studs Terkel interviews Peggy Terry, a Southern white whose ingrained racist views were challenged and changed by her awakening to civil rights issues in Montgomery, AL.

Outtake from THE 90’s (Jimmy Sternfield, 1990, 1 minute)

Professor William M. King, pioneer of Black Studies at the University of Colorado, discusses Dr. King’s ideal of the “beloved community.”

Excerpt from March for Disarmament (Ted Krichels, 1982, 20 seconds)

Folksinger and activist Joan Baez speaks about Dr. King at this anti-nuclear weapons rally in Central Park attended by nearly a million people.

Outtake from Voices of Cabrini (Ronit Bezalel, 1997, 1 minute)

Patrons at George Robbins’s Barbershop in Cabrini–Green remember the unrest following Dr. King’s assassination.

Excerpt from The Other M.J(Tom Weinberg, 1999, 15 seconds)

Chicagoan Michael Johnson quotes Dr. King on MLK Day.

Footage of Chicago special events (Bill Stamets, 1985, 3 minutes)

Stevie Wonder and a gospel choir pay musical tribute to Dr. King on his birthday.


6760 S. Stony Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60649
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lord Thing


Chicago Film Archives, Place Lab, and Black Cinema House present Lord Thing (1971) as part of the Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series. CFA restored this film in 2014 and will be showing the beautiful 16mm restoration print at this event.

LORD THING (DeWitt Beall, 1971, 52 min, 16mm)
Lord Thing traces the evolution of the Conservative Vice Lords (CVL), a Black “gang” (or “club,” depending on one’s preferred terminology) that rose to power on Chicago’s West Side during the 1960s. Through re-enactments and documentary footage, we see how CVL members school successive generations first through hazing and turf wars, then business and community development projects aimed to foster Black unification and self-determination. CVL’s efforts to revitalize the West Side with amenities and arts activities (including mural projects led by artist Don McIlvaine) are challenged by Mayor Richard J. Daley’s “war on gangs,” not to mention continuing inequalities in employment, recreation, health care, and housing for black Chicagoans. Lord Thing raises questions about the limits of Black capitalist space making, and asks what knowledge and power, if any, can be transmitted across generations subjected to ongoing spatialized oppression.

Screening will be followed by a conversation with Jacqueline Stewart (Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago), Benny Lee (Co-founder, National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated; Professor, Criminal Justice, Northeastern Illinois University); Isis Ferguson (Associate Director of City and Community Strategy, Place Lab), Sam Darrigrand (Workforce Development Manager, Rebuild Foundation).

The Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series is a cinematic companion to Place Lab’s Ethical Redevelopment Public Convenings + Salon Series. Ethical Redevelopment makes the case for mindful city-building. By utilizing cross-city networks and cross-sector innovation, Ethical Redevelopment works to shift the value system from conventional, profit-driven development practices to conscientious interventions in the urban context.

Read more about CFA’s restoration of Lord Thing in 2014
Read the DNAinfo article about this screening
RSVP to this event on Facebook


301 E. Garfield Blvd
Chicago, IL 60637
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Friday, August 12, 2016

Movies Under the Stars: Beginnings…

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This program slips us into the region from which we all once came, the continent of Africa. The ever-present theme of African colonialism is the undercurrent that carries these films downstream. Join us to meet a few of the gifted twentieth-century storytellers—among them Ousmane Sembene, Langston Hughes and Jean Cocteau—and come face-to-face with the struggles of life under Apartheid.

RHYTHM OF AFRICA, 1947, 17 min.
Produced and conceived by French filmmakers Jean Cocteau and Francois Villiers, with a screenplay by Langston Hughes, this rarely screened film takes a look at the special ceremonial dance of atonement in Chad. The heartbeat of the jungle, the day-to-day life in the modernizing village, and the bustling marketplace take on a hypnotizing rhythm of their own. A changing Africa asserts itself in a changing world.

BOROM SARRET, 1964, 20 min.
The first film directed by Sengalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembene, is the story of a young cart-driver’s struggle for survival in Dakar, Senegal, a country that had achieved independence only four years earlier. Natural composition and haunting audio make this simple story of loss a masterpiece. The film is based on Sembene’s short story of the same name. French with English subtitles.

WITNESS TO APARTHEID, 1986, 58 min., 16mm
Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary directed by Sharon I. Sopher (who also won an Emmy for her direction) is now rarely screened and difficult to find. Through wide-ranging interviews with subjects that include Bishop Desmond Tutu, student protestors, white residents, and more, the film becomes an in-the-moment look at the harsh life facing black South Africans living under Apartheid in the 1980s. For most, the future looks bleak, even as they continue to fight for their lives in the townships.


1456 E. 70th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Friday, July 22, 2016

Movies Under the Stars: Our Lives at Work


CFA and Black Cinema House team up for an outdoor program that looks at where we spend most of our waking hours…that is, if we have a job. Feminist filmmaker JoAnn Elam looks at what it was like working at the post office during the 1980s. Chicago Filmmaker Loretta Smith looks at what it was like to work as a washroom attendant on Rush Street in the early 1970s. Experimental filmmaker Abigail Child looks at what its like to hustle in the streets…typically a mixed bag.

Director, Loretta Smith (will be in attendance)

This film follows Joan Williams, born in 1903, who at 70 is a bathroom attendant, providing towels and other amenities to party goers at Rush Street clubs. Amazingly forthright, she is amused by her clients in the “powder room” and casual in the telling of her own life, a life that finds respite in her work as a bathroom attendant.

EVERYDAY PEOPLE, 1979-1980, 22 min. (work print)
Director, JoAnn Elam

Everyday People is based on Elam’s experiences as a letter carrier for the US Postal Service in Chicago, the various people she met while on the job, the political struggles they faced with the administration and the union, and larger issues related to the history of labor struggle and activism in the United States.

GAME, 1972, 38:30 min.
Director, Abigail Child

This rarely-seen 1970s documentary by celebrated experimental filmmaker Abigail Child is a concise portrait of two hustlers; Tina, a prostitute, and Slim, a yogi and her pimp. The two talk shop, women’s lib, and the power games of life on the street.

(Notes courtesy of Amy Beste)


6918 S. Dorchester Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
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9pm - 11pm


Friday, June 17, 2016

Movies Under the Stars: Textured Lives

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In honor of Lorraine Hansberry’s play The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window (now playing at Chicago’s Goodman Theater) CFA reprieves a program first screened at the Black Cinema House on Dorchester Avenue in 2014. Three films depict the lives of three African-American writers, whose works today are iconic both on the stage and in literary circles. Join Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison and Lorraine Hansberry in their own voices.

GWENDOLYN BROOKS, 1966, 29 min.
From WTTW’s The Creative Person series. Ms. Brooks reads from her verses and discusses her life and works. Photographic depictions of the atmosphere are the environment in which her poetry takes place.

This film presents Chicago born writer Lorraine Hansberry’s artistic growth and unique vision expressed in her own words and in her own voice. It traces Ms. Hansberry’s life from her childhood in Chicago to her premature death at the age of 34, her student days at the University of Wisconsin, her work as a fledgling journalist in New York’s Harlem, her life as a Greenwich Village housewife, and her breakthrough as the first woman playwright to be produced on Broadway.

Acclaimed novelist Toni Morrison explains the early impulses and obstacles she confronted as a young writer. She reads excerpts from The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Song of Solomon.

Please note this will be an outdoor screening in the open lot just east of the Arts Center building.


359 E. Garfield Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60637