Paul Laurence Dunbar “Beyond The Mask” at IFL Sept. 10

Fri, 09/02/2022 - 12:00pm

On Saturday, September 10, at 1 p.m., the Island Free Library will present “Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond The Mask,” a feature-length documentary on the life and legacy of the first African American poet and writer to gain international fame. The filmmaker, Frederick Lewis, a professor at Ohio University, will be on hand to introduce the film and lead a post-screening discussion.
Born to former slaves in Dayton, Ohio, Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) is best remembered for his poem “We Wear The Mask” and for lines from “Sympathy” that became the title of Maya Angelou’s famous autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” A clip of Angelou reciting Dunbar’s poem is featured in the film.
More than ten years in the making, “Beyond The Mask” received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional support from Ohio Humanities.
Writer and director Frederick Lewis is a professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University. His independent documentaries have been seen on PBS stations throughout the United States and been screened at more than 100 cultural and educational venues, including the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and the Explorers Club in New York City.
Lewis is a recipient of the Presidential Teacher Award, Ohio University’s highest honor for transformative teaching, curriculum innovation and mentoring.
He has been a Fulbright Specialist in Hungary and has also taught or lectured in England, Germany, France, Ukraine, Malaysia and Vietnam.