Documentary explores shutdown of Columbus school
On Oct. 24, Black Studies hosted a film screening of the documentary Shutdown from executive producer Simone Drake ‘97, the 2023-24 Black Studies scholar-in-residence. Shutdown, which has enjoyed multiple screenings in the Columbus, Ohio, area, features the stories of students, teachers, and an administrator as they recount events that led up to the shutdown of Columbus’ Linden-McKinley High School in 1971.
The shutdown took place in the midst of escalating racial tensions at the school that reflected the national, social, and political climate. Community member say it has been emotionally powerful to see their stories represented on film rather than erased from public memory. Viewing the film was also significant to Denison students, some of whom hail from the Columbus area as well.
Multiple departments and academic programs co-sponsored the film, including Anthropology, Cinema, Communication, Educational Studies, English, History, Journalism, and Politics and Public Affairs, to give their students an opportunity to apply their perspectives to the film.
“The story of the events that occurred at the school is a systemic issue that can be seen in other cases across the nation through history,” said Black studies major Isaiah Kessler ‘24. In addition, the film continues to support learning on and off The Hill. The documentary’s website is a teaching resource with a timeline, photo gallery, and full-length interviews of each person featured in the film and will later include a study guide for the film.
The next screening of the film will take place at Morehouse College, in Atlanta Georgia on November 13, 2023 as part of their Human Rights Film Festival.