Washington DC: A Community Screening of "Silver Dollar Road"
From Academy-Award Nominee Raoul Peck, Silver Dollar Road follows the story of the Reels family as told by the matriarch Mamie Reels Ellison and her niece Kim Renee Duhon, two fierce and clear-eyed women fighting to valiantly safeguard their ancestors' land and their brothers and uncles Melvin and Licurtis, who were wrongfully imprisoned for eight years, the longest sentence for civil contempt in North Carolina history. The acclaimed documentary, based on a 2019 ProPublica article, reveals one family's experience of fighting predatory real estate developers who work in blatant and subtle ways to strip Black families of inherited property. The film demonstrates how the legal system has been exploited to keep Black land ownership fragile and the racial wealth gap growing. Peck, who previously directed the Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, tells a global story of land rights as human rights, giving voice to people who face displacement from their ancestral home.
Following the film, there will be a panel with director Raoul Peck in conversation with:
- The Honorable Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute
- Lizzie Presser, journalist at ProPublica
- Marcus A.R. Childress, former investigative counsel to the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and partner at Jenner & Block
These distinguished panelists will discuss how the case of the Reels family in North Carolina illustrates a national problem at the intersection of heirs' property law, structural discrimination and barriers to intergenerational wealth.
This screening was made possible thanks to the Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs Graduate Film and Media Program, as part of the effort to bring award-winning filmmakers, and "Stories that Matter" — new works that challenge and engage across scientific, social and/or cultural themes — to Johns Hopkins and its surrounding communities.
This event is free. A reception with director Raoul Peck, with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, to follow.