Nov 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Screening to be followed by discussion with Pam Sporn, Rolando Guzman, and Sybil Newton Cooksey.
We are excited to welcome Pam Sporn to present her most recent feature, Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route co-presented with Urban Democracy Lab.
Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route explores the rise, demise and contested resurgence of America’s “motor city” through a multi-generational choir of voices who reside on letter carrier Wendell Watkins’ postal route. Oral histories convey the impetus behind the African American migration up north while personal accounts shed light on the impacts of the fight for housing justice, the legacy of industrial and political disinvestment, and a confluence of events and failed policies that resulted in Detroit’s bankruptcy. Blamed for the devastation but determined to survive, the community offers creative solutions to re-imagine a more inclusive and equitable city.
We’re delighted to have Pam Sporn in attendance for a conversation with Rolando Guzman and Sybil Newton Cooksey following the program.
Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route
82 min., 2018, USA
Detroit 48202: Conversations Along a Postal Route explores the rise, demise and contested resurgence of America’s “motor city” through a multi-generational choir of voices who reside in mail carrier Wendell Watkins’ work route. Archival footage and oral histories convey the impetus behind the African American migration up north to push against the boundaries of racial and economic segregation. The testimonials of Wendell’s neighbors and friends shed light on the impacts of redlining and the fight for housing justice, the legacy of industrial and political disinvestment, the fragility of Black home-ownership as impacted by the mortgage and financial crisis, and a confluence of events and failed policies that resulted in Detroit’s bankruptcy. Blamed for Detroit’s devastation but determined to survive, the resilient community offers creative solutions to re-imagine a more inclusive and equitable city.
Pam Sporn is a Bronx based documentary filmmaker, educator, and activist. She loves listening to people tell stories about standing up to injustice in their own unique, subtle, and not so subtle, ways.
A pioneer in bringing social issue documentary making into NYC high schools in the 1980s and 1990s, Pam substantively contributed to the growth of the youth media movement. In addition to Detroit 48202, Conversations Along a Postal Route, Pam’s work includes the documentaries Cuban Roots/Bronx Stories, With a Stroke of the Chaveta, Remembering the Mamoncillo Tree, and Disobeying Orders: GI Resistance to the Vietnam War.
Pam has received numerous grants and awards including: JustFilms/Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Puffin Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, CUNY Caribbean Exchange, and the Bronx Council on the Arts.
Rolando Guzman, originally from Honduras, is the Deputy Director for Community Preservation with St. Nick’s Alliance. In this role, he oversees a team of community organizers, housing counselors, and resident service coordinators who provide housing counseling to low- and moderate-income families. His team also supports community leaders, works against displacement and predatory equity, advocates for environmental justice, and provides social services and case management.
Sybil Newton Cooksey is a scholar of afro-diasporic cultural history whose interests include comparative literature, music and sound studies, and performance philosophy. She has taught courses on obscure autobiography, jazz icons, black existentialism, travel and translation, and Harlem noir. Professor Cooksey is currently working on a book manuscript entitled “The Objective I: Black Autobiography and Inauthenticity in Post-Negrophilia Paris.” She is also researching a new project on soundscapes and architecture in 1940s Havana.
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