Roger Griffith

My American Odyssey: From The Windrush to The White House

Festival of Ideas/
Wed 18 February 2015

Roger Griffith

My American Odyssey: From The Windrush to The White House

Wed 18 February 2015,

Broadcaster and commentator Roger Griffith’s memoir, My American Odyssey: From The Windrush to The White House tells of his experiences of travelling in America, a country whose history, politics and culture have had a significant impact on his life and work. Growing up in 1980s England, Roger reflects on the experiences of the first generation of Black-Britons, from Thatcher’s turbulent era to the present day, when a Black man is the president of the United States. His book is an evocative combination of travelogue, history and social commentary, celebrating the lives of Black-Britons, West Indians and African-Americans and exploring their influence in education, religion, music, sport and politics.

Griffith is in conversation with Andrew Kelly, Director, Bristol Festival of Ideas. The evening will include his choice of film clips from In the Heat of the NightMississippi BurningTo Kill a MockingbirdA Time to KillFour Little Girls12 Years a Slave;Babylon; and Malcolm X.

This is a Come The Revolution… event presented in partnership with Festival of Ideas.

A combined ticket is available for this event that will include entry to the 20.30 screening of Selma on the same day, which Roger Griffith will introduce.

Selma (12A): Dir: Ava DuVernay David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Alessandro Nivola 2hrs 8mins UK/USA

This gripping, inspiring and sometimes terrifying drama (astonishingly, the first film to focus on Martin Luther King made for the big screen) is a vivid retelling of the months leading up to the historic 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, that would secure voting rights for African Americans. Director Ava DuVurney blows the dusy off history to find its beating heart: at its core is Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo), who rescues the flesh-and-blood man from the myth. Selma isn’t a biopic – it’s a celebration of community action – and what emerges in its corridor of back rooms is Dr. King as a savvy strategist, a shrewd operator, and a man’s man with a rocky home life.

Even if you may or may not know how Dr. King’s campaign ends, Selma sings with suspense and surprise – and its message has lost none of its heroic, tragic relevance. In 2015, the 50th anniversary of this pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, it is hard to imagine a timelier reminder of both the progress that has been made and the promises that have been unkept. How much has Dr. King achieved, and how much have we advanced? Well, that’s all up for discussion. Share your thoughts on Watershed’s noticeboard or tweet using #convocinema or @wshed

Part of Conversations About Cinema: The Impact of Conflict a BFI Film Audience Network initiative led by Watershed with QFT and Chapter Arts. Supported by the BFI’s Programme Development Funds from the National Lottery.

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