Film Critic Shawn Edwards Examines Black Sports Figures in Film

For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2009
Contact: Paul Smith
Film Critic Shawn Edwards Examines Black Sports Figures in Film

The Kansas City Public Library hosts film critic Shawn Edwards for a presentation on The Manifestation of the Black Hero on Screen on Wednesday, February 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

This presentation draws from contemporary films as well as the earliest days of cinema history in order to provide a complete perspective on how African Americans have been portrayed in film as heroes who face injustice while overcoming racist clichés and stereotypes.

Edwards is an award-winning film critic for WDAF Fox 4 News and co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association. He is also the creator of the web site

Admission is free. Call 816.701.3407 to indicate your interest in attending or you may RSVP online. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.

This presentation complements Our Heroes, a film series compiled by Edwards that is screening every Monday and every Saturday throughout February 2009 in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at the Central Library. The film line-up includes:

The Jackie Robinson Story (1950) on February 2 and February 9. This biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, stars Jackie Robinson himself as he retraces his career in the Negro Baseball Leagues and the Major Leagues. Not Rated. (76 minutes.)

Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975) on February 9 and February 14. This is the story of Nathaniel "Cornbread" Hamilton (Jamaal Wilkes), a basketball superstar who was on his way to becoming the first man from his community to go to college before his dream was tragically ended. Also features a young Laurence Fishburne in one of his earliest roles. Rated PG. (95 minutes.)

Greased Lightning (1977) on February 16 and February 21. This film is based on the true life story of Wendell Scott (Richard Pryor), the first black stock car racing champion in America. Rated PG. (96 minutes.)

The Great White Hope (1970) on February 23 and February 28. Jack Jefferson (James Earl Jones) is the first black heavyweight contender and must deal with the racism and hatred of early-20th century white America. Loosely based on the controversial life of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world. Rated PG-13. (103 minutes.)

Both the presentation and film series anticipate the premiere of Edwards’ new documentary Our Heroes: The 25 Best Black Sports Movies (Ever) on February 28 at the Gem Theatre at 18th and Vine: visit for more information.

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