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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

White House Deputy Director to discuss award-winning film Thursday

The UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity will host Dr. Ivory A. Toldson, deputy director for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Building.

Dr. Ivory Toldson, White House Deputy DirectorThe free event is open to the public and will also include the showing of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival award-winning film “American Promise.” Registration is available online.

In his presentation, “Education, Ethnicity, and Equity,” Toldson will speak to the lessons in the film and discuss student success in higher education.

Toldson, a celebrated senior research analyst, professor, and writer, uses his research to address many of the issues raised in the documentary.

Dubbed a leader “who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House” by The Washington Post, Toldson travels the country talking with teachers about misleading media statistics that invariably either link black males to crime or question their ability to learn.

“People who work with, have relationships, are responsible for educating, mentoring, or who have social interactions with students from diverse backgrounds can benefit from seeing this film and Dr. Toldson’s presentation,” said Dr. Michael R. Twyman, director of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

“American Promise” follows the experiences of two middle-class African-American boys over the course of 12 years as they attend a prestigious private school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

The makers of the film, Joe Brewster, a Harvard- and Stanford-trained psychiatrist, and Michèle Stephenson, a Columbia Law School graduate and filmmaker, are also the parents of one of the film’s subjects.

American PromiseThey decided to film the boys’ progress starting in 1999 and were surprised by the challenges they encountered related to class, gender, and generational gaps.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Center for Diversity Affairs and Say It Loud! Readers and Writers are sponsors for Dr. Toldson’s lecture.

The showing of “American Promise” is a collaboration with POV, the award-winning independent nonfiction film series on PBS (www.pbs.org/pov).

For more information, go to Toldson and “American Promise.”