The film "Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock" will be shown on Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, 1518 M Street, NW. Following the screening, a panel featuring Ernest Green, a member of the Little Rock Nine, Ellen Fizer, whose father ministered to members of the Little Rock Nine, and filmmaker Sharon LaCruise, will offer firsthand accounts and respond to audience questions facilitated by award-winning journalist, Dorothy Gilliam. The film presentation is free and open to the public.
The documentary, which premièred on PBS' Independent Lens series earlier this year, tells the story of Daisy Bates, who earned her place in American history and became a household name during the height of the civil rights era. She is more commonly referred to as "Mrs. Daisy Bates and The Little Rock Nine" for courageously leading the integration of the all-white Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. Her public support culminated in a constitutional crisis — pitting a president against a governor and a community against itself. It took the presence of the National Guard, with protective assistance from President Eisenhower, to usher the nine black students into Central High School.
The documentary candidly explores and resolves questions that have plagued her place in history: What motivated Daisy Bates? Was she a self-sacrificing heroine or an opportunist driven by a need for validation? As Arkansas state president of the NAACP, Daisy supported a policy that put teenagers on the frontlines of the school desegregation battle — but was that policy morally right? What price did the Little Rock Nine pay for that decision? What does her story tell us about the place of feminism in the civil rights movement? After all she did, why was Daisy never fully embraced, even within the Little Rock community?
This public service program is presented by Metropolitan's Women's Season 2012 Committee, the Metropolitan A.M.E. Public Relations Committee and the Church School in partnership with the Daniel Alexander Payne Community Development Corporation. Reverend Ronald E. Braxton, D.Min., is senior pastor of Metropolitan A.M.E Church.