"Mossville: When Great Trees Fall" Film Screening
Thursday, November 10, 2022
7:00 pm
Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, Room C105

Join the Duke Human Rights Center for a screening of the film "Mossville: When Great Trees Fall," the second film in the 2022-2023 Rights! Camera! Action! Film Series.  Mossville, Louisiana, was a once-thriving community founded by formerly enslaved and free people of color, and an economically flourishing safe haven for generations of African American families. Today it’s a breeding ground for petrochemical plants and their toxic black clouds. Many residents are forced from their homes, and those that stay suffer from prolonged exposure to contamination and pollution. Amid this chaos and injustice stands one man who refuses to abandon his family’s land - and his community. 

The post-screening panel will feature speaker Michelle Lanier.

Michelle Lanier worked as the Executive Producer of the film Mossville: When Great Trees Fall. She has served on the faculty of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University since 2000. Michelle uses her background as an oral historian and folklorist to connect communities around personal narratives and cultural expression. She has traveled to Panama and Ghana to document African Diaspora funerary traditions, and her ethnographic work in a South Carolina Gullah community led to her role as a liaison to the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Growing up in a family that includes veterans of five American wars has inspired her current work in training students to collect veterans’ narratives through a Service-Learning course. In 2008, Michelle successfully advocated for legislation creating the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, which she led as its founding executive director. As a seasoned public humanities and museum professional, in 2018, Michelle was named as the first African American director of all of North Carolina's 25 state-owned historic sites. Michelle is also a proud founding member, along with her daughter Eden, of a multi-media and multi-modal coalition called DOADA, the Documentarians of African Descent Alliance.