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ITHACA, N.Y. — Agents of Change, an award-winning film about the black student-led protest movement on college campuses in the late 1960s, documents the events surrounding the takeover of Willard Straight Hall by black students at Cornell in April, 1969. This is the first feature-length documentary to cover the events at Cornell. Filmmakers, Frank Dawson ’72 and Abby Ginzberg ’71 are both Cornell graduates and will be present for a post-film discussion following the screening.

Frank was one of the black students inside the Straight and Abby was one of the white supporters outside.

Agents of Change examines the untold story of the racial conditions on college campuses and in the country in the late 1960’s that led to protests on college campuses from SF State to Cornell University.

Through the stories of the courageous young men and women at the forefront of these efforts, the film takes viewers to the crossroads of the civil rights, black power, and anti-Vietnam war movements at a pivotal time in America’s history. Today, as the struggle continues with the Black Lives Matter movement and concurrent nationwide student-led protests, Agents of Change links the past to the present and the present to the past, revealing how much work remains to be done.

“This film could have been made yesterday, about the struggles confronted by students of color at universities across the US today. It is, at once contemporary and historical, but most of all, relevant, to all Americans of any race,” says author and journalist Charlayne Hunter–Gault.

The film premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, where it won both the Jury and Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary. It was the Closing Night film at the Black Harvest Film Festival in Chicago on Sept.1 st where it screened to a sold out audience. It will be screened across the country at film festivals and on college campuses throughout the fall.

According to Dawson and Ginzberg, “We are really excited about the opportunity to bring the film to Cornell and share it with the campus and Ithaca community. It took us seven years to complete the film and it was a total labor of love. We are looking forward to a robust discussion following the screening and encourage current students to make sure to see it since they will learn a lot about the Cornell’s unique history.”

The screening and panel discussion will be on Friday, Sept. 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the Willard Straight Theatre.

More information about the film and the trailer is available at www.agentsofchangefilm.com.

All images provided.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.