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Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle: Home

Created Equal NEH Film Grant Program

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

In the summer of 2014, the PGCC Library received a grant and a set of films from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to present Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, a film, lecture, and discussion series about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in U.S. history. The PGCC Library is among 473 organizations and educational institutions communities across the nation selected for the program.

The NEH-funded films featured in the set are The Abolitionists; Slavery by Another Name; The Loving Story; and Freedom Riders.  Deeply grounded in humanities scholarship, these films tell a remarkable story–about the importance of race in the making of American democracy, about the power of individuals to effect change, and about the historical contexts in which Americans have understood and struggled with ideas of freedom, equality, and citizenship.  The documentaries address events from the 1800s through 1965 and several themes resonate among these films: the search for equal rights as defined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the roles of individuals and grassroots groups in bringing about a more just society, and the evolving understanding of democracy and freedom in the history of the United States.

The Created Equal program provides opportunities for students and scholars to discuss historical research and learning from primary sources. Three of the films (The Abolitionists, Freedom Riders, and Slavery by Another Name) will be available for free viewing online at the National Endowment for the Humanities website. 

About the Films


The Abolitionists

A small group of moral reformers in the 1830s launched one of the most ambitious social movements imaginable: the immediate emancipation of millions of African Americans held in bondage, at a time when slavery was one of the most powerful economic and political forces in the United States.

Produced and directed by Rob Rapley. Sharon Grimberg, executive producer for American Experience, WGBH.

Slavery by Another Name

Even as slavery ended in the south after the Civil War, new forms of forced labor kept thousands of African Americans in bondage until the onset of World War II. Based on the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same title by Douglas Blackmon.

Produced and directed by Sam Pollard. Catherine Allan, executive producer for Twin Cities Public Television. Douglas A. Blackmon, co-executive producer. A production of TPT National Productions, in association with Two Dollars & A Dream, Inc.

The Loving Story

The moving account of Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested in 1958 for violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. Their struggle culminated in a landmark Supreme Court decision, Loving v. Virginia (1967) which overturned anti-miscegenation laws in the United States.

Directed by Nancy Buirski; produced by Nancy Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James. A co-production of Augusta Films and HBO Films. Distributed by Icarus Films.

Freedom Riders 

Freedom Riders tells the terrifying, moving, and suspenseful story of a time when white and black volunteers riding a bus into the Deep South risked being jailed, beaten, or killed, as white local and state authorities ignored or encouraged violent attacks. The film includes previously unseen amateur 8-mm footage of the burning bus on which some Freedom Riders were temporarily trapped, taken by a local twelve-year-old and held as evidence since 1961 by the FBI.

Produced and directed by Stanley Nelson.  Mark Samels, executive producer for American Experience, WGBH.

"Created Equal" is a film, lecture, and discussion series about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in U.S. history. The program provides opportunities for students and scholars to discuss historical research and learning. This LibGuide was created by Zola Mumford for the NSCC Library.