Honoring the Black List

Adia Watts, Culture Editor 

Once again, it is time to acknowledge the lives that were affected by the events that unfolded in Oneonta 22 years ago. In 1992, an elderly white woman was attacked by someone she described as having a black or dark and. That was all she saw of the person and told police that the hand would have cuts on it because she scratched the person in an attempt to get away. The Oneonta Police Department then proceeded to ask both Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta for a list of the names and residences of all their black male students. Hartwick refused, but the list of our students was handed over without hesitation. The list became known as the “Black List.” The release of this information resulted in students being harassed wherever they went. The police would demand to see the students’ hands and if they refused, they were taken down to the police station. The minority students of Oneonta were living in fear in a place where they’re supposed to feel safe.

Sure, the story may be the same, but it’s worth remembering each year, especially since incoming students may not be aware of the history of the school they’re attending. This year, the Africana Latino Studies (ALS) Department is showing the documentary that highlights the case Brown v. the City of Oneonta and the students whose lives were changed by this heinous violation of civil rights. The film, “Brothers of the Black List”was directed by Sean Gallagher, a recent graduate of SUNY Oneonta. Last year at the premiere of the film, Gallagher said that he felt he had an obligation to tell the story of the victims of the Black List. His goal for the film was to bring it to other college campuses in order to spark a much needed discussion on racism in America.

In the time since the premiere in February, Gallagher has done just that. Additionally, his film has been selected for the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival, the Docuwest International Film Festival, and the Africa World Documentary Film Festival. He was also the winner at the Catskill Mountains Film Festival.

Now Gallagher is returning to Oneonta to show his film to the students and shed light on the longest litigated case in the history of America; one that should never be forgotten. The documentary will be shown on Monday, September 22 in IRC 5 at 7pm. This event is open to all students and it is definitely worth seeing.

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