National Museum of African American History and Culture Premieres Film on History of Blacks in the Military Jan. 26

January 12, 2010
News Release

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will present a world premiere screening of For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the Carmichael Auditorium at the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. 

The 40-minute film features Halle Berry and is narrated by Avery Brooks, with an introduction by Gen. Colin Powell. It is an excerpt of a four-hour, two-part documentary airing on PBS in February, coinciding with Black History Month. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

The documentary uses letters, diaries, speeches, journalistic accounts, historical text and military records to document the accomplishments of African American men and women since the earliest days of the republic. Their gripping personal stories are a deeply moving chronicle of sacrifice, from the Revolutionary War—whose first casualty was a black man, Crispus Attucks—to the current battle against global terrorism.        

Much more than a collection of historical facts and figures, For Love of Liberty introduces the audience to the men and women whose lives make up the fabric of the inspiring story of African Americans in the military. Their compelling, first-hand accounts are recounted through dramatic, off-camera readings by a star-studded collection of entertainers and public figures, including Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Susan Sarandon, Ossie Davis, Robert Duvall, Danny Glover, Angela Bassett, Jesse L. Martin, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Elliott, Ruby Dee, Eriq La Salle, Alfre Woodard and many others.       

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture is pleased to present this world premiere of For Love of Liberty,” said Lonnie G. Bunch, director of the museum. “The stories of the African American men and woman who put their lives on the line for their country, even when that country did not afford them the rights of full citizens, is an extraordinary and important story that has been largely ignored. It is the kind of story this museum is committed to telling now and when we open on the National Mall in 2015.”

“Our goal is to raise public consciousness about this extraordinary and little-known aspect of our nation’s history, and I’m deeply indebted to all those who’ve supported our commitment to get this story told,” said Frank Martin, the film’s producer, co-writer and director. “Throughout the film we look at why, despite rampant injustice, heroic black men and women fought so valiantly for freedoms they themselves did not enjoy. The theme that echoes across the centuries—the price of liberty—is one that is relevant to all Americans.”    

The film also includes original footage of hundreds of monuments, battlefields, memorials and other historic sites set to an eclectic sound track created by gospel great, Andraé Crouch. Additional music in the film includes Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun and Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit.     

For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots was produced by Rudy Poe, Martin and James Crite. The film’s executive producers are Louis Gossett Jr., Hillard Elkins, Dennis Considine, Richard Hull and Kevin Clark.        

For more information about the National Museum of African American History and Culture, call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY)

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