Ava DuVernay was commissioned to create the orientation film for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. She was extremely excited but also clueless on how to tackle this enormous responsibility. What she created is a phenomenal short film titled August 28: A Day in the Life of a People.

August 28 is a monumental date in black history in America. There are six significant moments that took place on that date in a span of 175 years, and the short film showcases those events with a star-studded cast that includes Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, and much more.

In an interview with Gayle King about the project, Ava said, “I was an African American History major at UCLA and I’m just a history buff and geek. On August 28, a lot of really truly amazing things happened in African American history… they all fell on this date in different years.”

Although the film was previously exclusively available at the Oprah Winfrey Theater at NMAACH, it recently aired on OWN.

So what are these monumental events?

“Please Mr. Postman” Hits The Radio

No other institution has had the power and influence that Motown Records has had on black music. The giant black-owned record label, founded by Berry Gordy in 1959, released “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes in 1961 and it became the first number one hit for the label.

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Emmett Till Dies

The death of Emmett Till, a black teen killed in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman, left a pain the black community that has yet to heal. His mother, Mamie Mobley-Till famously decided to have an open casket at his funeral so the world could see the brutality of racism. 

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833

If you say, “Wait a minute! Slavery was not abolished in 1833!”, you are right. The Slavery Abolition Act this is in reference to is the one that took place in 1833 in England and abolished slavery in most British colonies. It freed more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa. This act was a precursor to the United States Emancipation Proclamation 30 years later. 

Hurricane Katrina Hits New Orleans

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and killed thousands of people. The black community was affected the most.  

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Dr. King’s ‘I Have A Dream’

Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech took place on August 28th of 1963 in Washington DC. 

Barack Obama Accepts The Democratic Nomination For POTUS

Senator Barack Obama made history in 2008 when he officially accepted the Democratic nomination for the president of the united states. He became the first Black candidate for a major party and the first black president. 

Ava hopes to keep updating the film with more important August events in black history for years to come. 

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