The West Michigan documentary film “Up from the Bottoms: The Search for the American Dream” will be aired on PBS television stations across the nation over the next three years. The film will air on WGVU from Grand Rapids on Sunday, February 5 at 8 p.m. during Black History Month.
The Paul Robeson Award-winning film, tells the story of the massive migration of African Americans from the rural South to the prosperous North during the World War II years and beyond. Sponsors of the project include the National Educational Telecommunication Association, with generous support by the Michigan Humanities Council, Alcoa Inc. and Grand Valley State University,
“The Bottoms is a low-lying area in Muskegon, near Jackson Hill, that was inhabited by many African Americans who came in the 1930s and ’40s,” said director Jim Schaub, who teaches in Grand Valley’s School of Communications. Schaub co-produced the film with his brother Rod Schaub, who has had a lengthy career in the music and film industries.
The narration by Emmy award-winning actress Cicely Tyson guides viewers through touching, thoughtful and often-funny stories told by 15 residents of Muskegon. Civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory and African American historian Benjamin Wilson provide the national and historical perspectives on the great migration. The soundtrack includes music from Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis.
The film has won five awards on its journey around the world after its world premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival in 2009. It is also part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, and is used in high schools and colleges across the U.S. as a part of Black History and Social Studies curricula.
For more information visit http://www.upfromthebottoms.com, or call Jim Schaub in the School of Communications at (616) 331-3633.