The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is giving the award-winning 12 Years a Slave the distinction Alex Haley's Roots had before it by having it mass circulated in the public school system as a vital teaching utility.
Initiated by television personality Montel Williams, the NSBA will partner with New Regency, Penguin Books and the movie's filmmakers to have it all participating schools by September 2014.
Via School Board News:
“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. 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,” said Williams.
“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,” said NSBA President David A. Pickler. “We believe that providing America's public high school students the opportunity to bear witness to such an unrelenting view of the evils of slavery is essential toward ensuring that this history is never forgotten and must never be repeated.”
Williams also has joined NSBA as a celebrity spokesperson in its Stand Up 4 Public Schools campaign that showcases the great things happening in America's public schools.
Director Steve McQueen also added, "Since first reading 12 Years a Slave, it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools. 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."
Hollywood has a long, ardent history with movies set in the Slavery Era and given 12 Years a Slave's popularity, this venture should be prove conducive to learning during and outside Black History Month.
The film has garnered several award nominations and spawned a breakout star in Lupita Nyong'o, who is currently up for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com