The Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) announced plans to host the Texas premiere of documentary “Breaking Down Barriers: The C.R. Roberts Story” at its 2018 film festival in Austin, TX on Friday, August 31, 2018. Producer Jeremy Sadowski will be joined by precursors Leon Holland and Charles Miles, who represent the very first group of African American students to be enrolled in The University of Texas at Austin (UT). Holland and Miles bring their own special stories about integrating UT in 1956, the same year of the monumental UT versus USC game – as told in the documentary. Festival tickets are now on sale for All Film and VIP festival passes. Visit www.capcitybff.com for more information.
This year, CCBFF brings stories involving sports, civil rights and film into focus. “Breaking Down Barriers” recounts how race played a key factor in the historic matchup of University of Southern California (USC) and collegiate sports leader UT. USC players stood their ground by keeping all their players unified – regardless of race – which resulted in a huge win for USC, on and off the field. This screening event takes place just weeks before the 2018 football matchup of UT and USC in Austin.
““Breaking Down Barriers” tells a story that is a very important part of Texas history. It’s the courage of athletes like C.R. Roberts and students like The Precursors that evokes change within our communities,” says CCBFF Executive Director Winston G. Williams. “CCBFF is committed to increasing the visibility of these stories that have altered the lives of Texans and propelled us towards the progress that we see today.”
“We are so honored to be part of the Capital City Black Film Festival, and we are excited to screen this inspirational story in Austin, the city where C.R. played his historic game and paved the way for future generations of African American athletes,” said Breaking Down Barriers Producer Jeremy Sadowski.
The Precursors join CCBFF for this screening due to its relevance to their own plight as the first African Americans undergraduates to attend UT in 1956. Both Holland and Miles will share their accounts of the beginning of desegregation – which set the stage for the eventual integration of UT athletics.
“The C.R. Roberts game was one of my first encounters with staunch racism. We witnessed fans hurling racial slurs and even death threats as Roberts led USC to victory over UT,” said Precursor Leon Holland.
“Roberts exhibited the true character and sportsmanship necessary to break the barriers of racism that divided our school and ultimately our nation. I’m happy to join fellow Precursor and classmate Charles Miles and Capital City Black Film Festival in recognizing this very important time in Texas history.”
During the opening night ceremony on Thursday, August 30, CCBFF will honor the late MLB legend, coach, manager, and Austinite Don Baylor Sr. with the Harlem Lights Award. The award will be accepted by Baylor’s son, Don Baylor Jr. This award recognizes luminaries in all fields of endeavor that include and influence the creative arts.
Baylor also played a crucial role in civil rights through his career as an athlete. While he accomplished so much in his 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, his most important accomplishments came from his early life experiences with desegregation at a young age. In the early 1960s, Baylor was one of three students who integrated O. Henry Junior High School in Austin which was met with tension from the local community. This experience prepared Baylor for his next challenge as one of the first African American athletes to play both baseball and football at Austin High School.
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