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May. 19, 2019 | Sunday
Local News
Documentary ‘risks everything’ at History Museum
Screening of short documentary film, Risking Everything, on March 14 at 6 p.m. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Fighting for freedom, African-American’s who journeyed to Canada are documented in Risking Everything: A Story of Niagara’s Freedom Seekers. The Niagara Historical Society and Museum will host a free screening of the half-hour film on March 14 at 6 p.m.

Directed and produced by Isadore ‘Izzy’ Bleckman, award-winning photographer, and his wife Mary Roseberry, retired professor of literature and journalism at Niagara County Community College, the film tells the story of those who made the journey from the ‘slave states’ to Canada before the US Civil War.

The film was released on Feb. 20, during Black History Month, in celebration of all of the people who made the dangerous journey in the search of better lives.

Sifting through hundreds of hours of video footage and recordings, Bleckman and Roseberry, with Bleckman’s daughter, Sheera Bleckman, edited the material down to a half-hour documentary film.

The creation of the ‘Freedom Crossing’ monument in Lewiston, NY, kickstarted the team’s film in 2009.

Hours of the construction and installation of the monument, by Susan Geissler, renowned sculpture, was filmed while the team also conducted interviews and research of the history of people on both sides of the border with a commitment to the opposition of slavery.

In an NHS Museum’s media release, Roseberry is quoted: “The monument tells a powerful story, a continuing story about people who risk their lives to find a place where they can live a decent life, and others who are willing to assist them.”

“We often think of slavery as if it is a long-ago story,” Roseberry said, “but the past is our beginning and has taken us to who we are today. The stories of earlier generations need to be told again and again, not only in written narrative, but in images, in the spoken voice, and in art such as Susan’s sculpture. My husband and I have had the opportunity to play a role in expanding and deepening our international story.”

Niagara Historical Society and Museum host special events and exhibitions throughout the year, which can be found at www.niagarahistorical.museum or by calling 905-468-3912.

Located at 43 Castlereagh St., the museum is open daily from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. until April, then 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May to October.

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