With Oscar and Emmy nominations for 13th, director and producer Ava DuVernay has clearly established herself as a force in Hollywood and with documentaries.
Array, the film collective founded by Duvernay, acquired the directorial debut Teach Us All from Sonia Lowman in August and released the trailer below this week with the premiere on Netflix September 25.
Accompanied by a national tour to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine’s momentous school integration, the film examines the U.S. education system from the historic Little Rock Crisis to present day disparities in access that are culminating into a re-segregation of schools across the nation.
“It was never intended [that] we be treated as equals,” says Little Rock Nine member Elizabeth Eckford in the film’s first trailer above.
Eckford is specifically speaking to the racist abuse and bias she encountered both inside and outside the school. But “Teach Us All” carries this premise—that U.S. public education systems were never built to offer students of color the same opportunities as White ones—into the present.
So the question this film asks is how much has changed for the better or worse since the Little Rock Crisis in 1957.
Little Rock Nine was a group of nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by the Governor of Arkansas. They then attended after the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In the photo below Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division escort the Little Rock Nine students into the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, on May 17, 1954. Tied to the 14th Amendment, the decision declared all laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional, and it called for the desegregation of all schools throughout the nation. After the decision, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attempted to register black students in previously all-white schools in cities throughout the South.
Teach Us All is the 17th feature that ARRAY has picked up. Having debuted at the L.A. Film Festival, the Damani Baker-directed The House on Coco Road was the last pic acquired by ARRAY in May of this year.