Famous filmmakers lead race discussion in Charleston

Famous filmmakers lead race discussion in Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Nearly 2,000 people came to the Gaillard Center Wednesday evening for an event on race in America.
Award winning documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Henry Louis Gates Jr. kicked off their nine city tour in downtown Charleston. 
They showed clips from their films "Jackie Robinson" and "Black America since MLK: And still I rise." 
They also led a discussion on race and talked about the Mother Emanuel AME church shooting.

To many who attended, the discussion about race is what Charleston, and America, needs now more than ever.

"As far as race, there's just one race," said local artist William Russell. "It's the human race."

That message was evident inside the Gaillard Center, but the love inside that building is not always seen in the world.
Recent events, like the Mother Emanuel AME church shooting, highlight that hatred.

"Myra Thompson was our sister," said Marlene Coakley Jenkins, standing beside her two other sisters Blondelle Coakley Gadsden and Marjorie Coakley McIver. "She was one of the Emanuel 9 shooting victims."

Never forgetting the horror of that day, the three sisters hope events like this can use Charleston as an example.

"It allows the United States and the world to understand that we are about forgiveness," said Jenkins.

Inside the Gaillard Center auditorium, there was conversation about unity.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the International African American Museum, set to open in Fall 2018.

The event highlighted the history and importance of the past.

"This is a historical city, Charleston, SC," Russell. "We feel like especially an African American Museum this will enhance the city in all kinds of aspects."

People had the opportunity to share testimonies about their families and their experiences with race.

It focused on the past, highlighting important people who remind us of tragedy and hardships.

Their stories were the focal point to build toward the future.

"She (Myra Thompson) is a happy person, so she would be saying praise the lord," said Jenkins.

"Thank you, Myra, because even through the sadness of this time, it has brought so much unity." said Marjorie Coakley McIver.

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