About the Film:
Feb. 17 bonus: There will be a panel discussion after the film
Two Trains Runnin’ is a feature-length documentary directed by Sam Pollard, narrated by Common, and featuring the music of Gary Clark Jr. The film pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians and cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America. In 2017 the documentary was honored with a Grammy nomination for Best Music Film.
In June of 1964 hundreds of college students, eager to join the civil rights movement, traveled to Mississippi, starting what would be known as Freedom Summer. That same month, two groups of young men--made up of musicians, college students and record collectors--also traveled to Mississippi. Though neither group was aware of the other, each had come on the same errand: to find an old blues singer and coax him out of retirement. Thirty years before, Son House (who had been in Rochester for years!) and Skip James had recorded some of the most memorable music of their era, but now they seemed lost to time.
Finding them would not be easy. There were few clues to their whereabouts. It was not even known for certain if they were still alive. And Mississippi, that summer, was a tense and violent place. With hundreds on their way to teach in freedom schools and work on voter registration, the Ku Klux Klan and police force of many towns vowed that Freedom Summer would not succeed. Churches were bombed, shotguns blasted into cars and homes. It was easy to mistake the young men looking for Son House and Skip James as activists. Finally, on June 21, 1964, these two campaigns collided in memorable and tragic fashion.
In telling this remarkable story, Two Trains Runnin' revisits an important moment when America's cultural and political institutions were dramatically transformed. The movie is all the more pointed and relevant today, in an era of renewed attention on police brutality and voting rights.
The Feb. 17 panel includes:
Dan LaTourette is a screenwriter, filmmaker, and adjunct professor teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he also received his MFA in Film and Animation from the School of Film and Animtion in the College of Imaging Arts & Science. Dan’s film work has inlcuded a documentary about Rochester Blues icon, Joe Beard, and a documentary on breaking and the hip hop culture. As much as Dan enjoys making films, he loves watching them just as much, frequenting The Little Theater and working at the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum. Dan also holds a Bachelor's in Film and Media Studies from the University of Rochester.
In the early 1980s, Rich Gardner hosted the Red Creek Blues Program on what is now Jazz90.1, prompting him to explore what became of Son House. Rich found Son living in Detroit, where, in April 1981, he went to interview him for a story for Upstate Magazine. Rich’s 2015 book, “Finding Son House: One Searcher’s Story,” is based in part on the 1981 interview. In addition to Rich’s Son House book, he has written extensively about the outdoors. Rich’s 2011 book, “Learning to Walk,” is an introspective walking journal based primarily in upstate New York. Rich is currently completing a book about his 565-mile walk around Lake Ontario, called “Between the Miles.” Rich has contributed outdoors-oriented articles to City Newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle, Adirondack Life, the Toronto Globe & Mail, and United Airlines’ in-flight magazine, Hemispheres. Rich recently bought a house on the river in West Henrietta and operates Upstate Resume & Writing Service, in Brighton.
President, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program & Professor of African American Religious Studies
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1948, Marvin A. McMickle is a 1970 graduate of Aurora University in Aurora Illinois with a B.A. in Philosophy. His alma mater also awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1990 as well as the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2000. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1973. That school also awarded him the Unitas Award in 2007. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ in 1983. Princeton later named him a Distinguished Alumnus in the school’s bi-centennial year of 2012. He was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998. In 2010 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio.
He was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1973 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City where he served on the pastoral staff from 1972-1976. He was pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church of Montclair, New Jersey from 1976-1986. While in New Jersey he served as president of the New Jersey Council of Churches from 1982-1986, as a member of the Montclair Board of Education from1982-1986, as well as two terms as president of the Montclair Chapter of the NAACP. He also taught preaching at New York, New Brunswick and Princeton Theological Seminaries.
From 1987-2011 he was Senior Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio. During that time he led the church in establishing a ministry for people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. It was the first church-based program of its kind in the entire country! He also initiated the practice of having the church tithe one-tenth of its annual income to community-based programs every year. While in Cleveland, Dr. McMickle served on the Board of Trustees of Cleveland State University, as president of the Shaker Heights Board of education, and as president of both the local NAACP and Urban League chapters. He was the Professor of Homiletics at Ashland Theological Seminary from 1996-2011. Upon leaving Ashland he was voted by his faculty colleagues to be Professor Emeritus. He is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In the winter semester of 2009 he served as a Visiting Professor of Preaching at Yale University Divinity School.
He was elected to be the 12th President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in 2011.
He has been married to Peggy Noble McMickle since 1975. They have one son, Aaron James who lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Pilar Ramos and their daughters Aaliyah and Lola.
Tina Chapman DaCosta (moderator) (a longer version was sent if needed)
Director of RIT Diversity Theater, lecturer in the School of Film and Animation and the College of Liberal Arts, and filmmaker. Tina’s film work includes Remembering the Pythodd, a documentary about the legendary Pythodd Jazz Room in Rochester and Brick by Brick, a drama based on the young life of Elza “Buddy” Cannaday, the first licensed African American contractor in Cleveland, Ohio.