GRAND CROSSING — For the fourth straight year, the Gary Comer Youth Center will show a free movie every Wednesday during Black History Month to educate youth and residents about African-American history.
The five movies, which all start at 7 p.m., are "Trouble the Water" on Wednesday; "In his Father's Shoes" on Feb. 12; "American Violet" on Feb. 19; and "Black in Latin America" on Feb. 26.
Last year 125 people attended the movie series at the center 7200 S. Ingleside Ave. Seating is first-come, first-served. Space is available for up to 50 people, but Ayoka Samuels, program manager for the youth center, said if more people show up "we would make space to accommodate them."
The 1½-hour movies will be followed by a discussion moderated by the center's staff and refreshments. The purpose of the movies, Samuels said, is to raise awareness about the heritage of blacks.
"It is so important that our young people and the community know where we have been and where we are going as African-Americans. There are plenty of positive things in our community," said Samuels, of Grand Crossing. "But unfortunately, we cannot do much about the crime, lack of education and level of disrespect that breeds in our community. We [blacks] are a victims of our own circumstances."
Each movie shown will focus a specific issue facing blacks, Samuels said.
"Trouble the Water" explores issues of race, class and the relationship of government to its citizens, which are issues that continue to haunt America years after the levees failed in New Orleans.
"In his Father's Shoes" is about a boy named Clay Crosby, who never had the chance to know his late father, thus creating a void in his life. At 15, he finds a pair of shoes, tries them on, and suddenly finds himself whisked back to the days when his father was a teen.
"American Violet" is based on true story about Regina Kelly, a victim of Texas police drug enforcement tactics, who with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the district attorney's office for discrimination.
"Black in Latin America" is narrated by professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who explores race and identity in Latin America.