Film Premiere “Legacy of Courage: Black Changemakers in Massachusetts Past, Present, Future”

This film was created by the Justice George Lewis Ruffin Society’s Long Road to Justice and was produced by the award-winning Northern Light Productions.

Primary Source was excited to host the film premiere of Legacy of Courage: Black Changemakers in Massachusetts Past, Present, Future followed by a panel discussion on the importance of inspiring students through the study of Black activism.

Thursday, October 27 at 7:00 pm
Framingham State University
100 State St, Framingham, MA 01701

This event is free and open to the public.

The panel discussion was led by our own Dr. Elaine McNeil-Girmai and featured youth activists Keturah Brewster and Vikian Petit-Homme, Wendy Lement of the creative team, and Brookline educator Dr. Malcolm Cawthorne. The audience participated actively in the stimulating discussion that connected what we can do now with the actions of African American changemakers over four centuries in Massachusetts as they confronted racial injustice to create a freer and more equal society. 

The film and discussion guides can be found on the Legacy of Courage: Black Changemakers in Massachusetts Past, Present, and Future webpage. These are open-source and available to the public.

Below are images from the event.

Photographer: Jamie Rhode

Legacy of Courage: Black Changemakers in Massachusetts Past, Present, Future (Trailer)

Massachusetts prides itself on its legacy of abolitionism and on its current liberal, socially conscious values. However, this has not always been the case. This 20-minute film created by Long Road to Justice and produced by Northern Light Productions chronicles how African American activists in Massachusetts have used the legal system to pursue freedom and civil rights for over 400 years.

Together, we will learn about the people who contributed to Massachusetts’ legacy of social justice activism.

The stories highlighted in the film include the enslaved Africans who enriched the owners of the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford; Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett), an enslaved person in Sheffield, MA who brought a successful lawsuit in 1781 on the basis that slavery was incompatible with the new Massachusetts constitution; Sarah Roberts, a Black child in the 1840s whose father Benjamin Roberts sued Massachusetts in 1848 so she could attend an all-white school near their home in Boston; and Ruth Batson, whose petition to the Boston School Committee (BSC) in 1963 to end discrimination in public schools ultimately led to court-ordered desegregation.

The lessons these stories deliver through successes, failures, and persistent activism will inform and inspire audiences in schools and communities in Massachusetts and beyond.

Our Generous Sponsors
Activist Level:

Ally Level:

Nellie Mae Foundation
Reynders Mcveigh Logo

Individual Sponsors:

Nannette & William Braucher
Hester Brooks
Eileen & Jack Connors, Jr.
Elizabeth Goodman
Jonathan & Meredith Meeks
Caroline Michel
Rosemary & William Pisano
Anne & John Watt

The creation of this film was made possible by these generous sponsors:

Individuals: Barbara & Amos Hostetter