Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave is sparking change in America’s public high school curriculum.
According to a press release, the National School Boards Association is partnering with New Regency, Penguin Books and filmmakers to distribute copies of the NAACP Image Award-winning film, original book, and study guide to public high schools across the US.
The new initiative is coordinated by famed talk show host Montel Williams. Sources say 12 Years A Slave, written in 1841 by free Black man-turned-slave Solomon Northup, will be a required teaching tool starting September 2014, the new school year.
“12 Years a Slave is one of the most impactful films in recent memory, and I am honored to have been able to bring together Fox Searchlight and National School Boards Association to maximize its educational potential,” Williams says in a statement. “When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool. This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
Director McQueen calls the new initiative a dream come true. “Since first reading 12 Years a Slave, it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools,” he reveals. “I am immensely grateful to Montel Williams and the National School Boards Association for making this dream a reality and for sharing Solomon Northup’s story with today’s generation.”
According to NSBA President David A. Pickler, “The National School Boards Association is honored to partner with Fox Searchlight Pictures and Penguin Books to ensure that every public high school student in America has the opportunity to stare the stark realities of slavery in the eye through books and film.”
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