The award-winning film 12 Years a Slave, a striking and brutally vivid retelling of the true story of Solomon Northup, will be incorporated into public high school classrooms around the nation beginning in September 2014, according to a The National School Boards Association (NSBA) press release.
The NSBA is partnering with New Regency, Penguin Books, and the filmmakers to distribute copies of the acclaimed film, book, and study guide to America’s public high schools, giving students an unvarnished view of slavery in America that is seldom introduced inside the classroom.
The initiative, coordinated by Montel Williams, is modeled against an initiative Williams launched that ultimately led to distribution by The Montel Williams Show of copies of the Civil War film Glory to public high schools.
“12 Years a Slave is one of the most impactful films in recent memory, and I am honored to have been able to bring together Fox Searchlight and National School Boards Association to maximize its educational potential. When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool. This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future, and I’m proud to be a part of that,” said Williams.
“Since first reading 12 Years a Slave, it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools. I am immensely grateful to Montel Williams and the National School Boards Association for making this dream a reality and for sharing Solomon Northup’s story with today’s generation,” said Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years.
“The National School Boards Association is honored to partner with Fox Searchlight Pictures and Penguin Books to ensure that every public high school student in America has the opportunity to stare the stark realities of slavery in the eye through books and film,” said NSBA President David A. Pickler. “We believe that providing America’s public high school students the opportunity to bear witness to such an unrelenting view of the evils of slavery is essential toward ensuring that this history is never forgotten and must never be repeated.”
This groundbreaking film won the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture, the PGA Award for Best Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best Film and is nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture of the Year.