Face to Face: Community Conversations

Face to Face: Community Conversations is a community-based discussion program that encourages dialogue on issues central to civic life in New Jersey. This program features film screening/discussion events and supplementary activities that work together to foster and sustain meaningful public conversations.

Partners Needed – Apply Now!

Want to expand your fall program schedule?  Encourage your community to explore the evolving meaning of freedom, justice, and equality in American history! The Council will be sponsoring a series of free screening/discussion events around the state within the September-October time frame. All public libraries and nonprofit organizations working in partnership with a public library are eligible to apply. Interested organizations should submit an application on or before July 1. There is no cost to apply or participate in the program.

Please note, there are a limited number of spaces available in the program. The Council is looking to partner with capable and committed project teams, representing a diverse range of communities. Preference will be given to sites that have active community partners and have not previously been selected to participate in the Created Equal initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. If selected, you will receive one copy of a film for your library’s permanent collection with limited screening rights, marketing support from the Council, and a highly-qualified discussion facilitator. For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

Join the Conversation!

This summer, events will be taking place at the following venues:
(Click each line for additional details)

Summit Free Public Library, June 24, 7:00pm

Burlington County Lyceum in Mount Holly, June 28, 1:00pm

Ocean Grove Community Room in Neptune Township, July 1, 10:30am

Cumberland County Library in Bridgeton, July 12, 2:00pm

Created Equal Film Collection

In 2013, the National Endowment for the Humanities, working in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, launched its Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle project. For the next three years, up to 500 communities across the nation will be hosting conversations centered on a curated collection of NEH-funded films.  This summer, Council-sponsored events will make use of the NEH’s Created Equal film collection.


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 

The Freedom Rides of 1961 were a pivotal moment in the long Civil Rights struggle that redefined America. Based on Raymond Arsenault’s recent book, this documentary film offers an inside look at the brave band of activists who challenged segregation in the Deep South. Produced and directed by Stanley Nelson. Mark Samels, executive producer for American Experience, WGBH.

Meet the Scholars

Christopher Fisher, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History, The College of New Jersey

A specialist in American diplomacy, the Cold War, and race politics in US history, Professor Fisher is a member of the Department of History at The College of New Jersey. He has taught various classes on topics in twentieth-century, American diplomatic, and African-American history. He received his doctorate from Rutgers University’s Department of History.

James Johnson, Ph.D.
Independent History Scholar

Dr. Johnson is an independent scholar who specializes in African American History and the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.  A former industrial worker, his diverse background includes merchant marine sailor, meatcutter, and chemical laboratory analyst.  Dr. Johnson has taught at the University of MD Eastern Shore, Moravian College, Gettysburg College, and Rutgers Camden University. He is also a former high school social studies teacher in Camden, New Jersey. He is currently completing his book, Souls of Black Soldiers In the Civil War: The Camp Life and Field Experiences of the Camp William Penn Regiments, 1863-1865.

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