As we approach Black History Month, many are in preparation for events and celebrations of Black history, culture, and life throughout the country and state. One such celebration to be held at The Fitchburg Senior Center on 5510 Lacy Road will also have a screening of a film especially relevant to the celebration of Black life in the area, “Leaders of Madison’s Black Renaissance,” a movie by Dr. Charles “Chuck” Taylor.
Dr. Taylor has a long history of making an impact both in the Black Madison community, but certainly in the Madison community overall producing shows, films, books, and events in the area that look to bring racial awareness, understanding, and unity while serving as founder and president of Roar Enterprises, an organization that looks to do the same.
Dr. Taylor spoke on what motivated the film and why this showing of it for Black History Month is just a piece of something larger to come.
“I wanted to capture this historical moment,” Dr. Taylor told Madison365. “That was the sort of impetus for why I decided to produce this film. Once I got into it, I ended up interviewing, and including in the film, about 40 of Madison’s Black trailblazers. I could have easily included another 100, another 150, because there’s so much going on. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I want the community to realize the tremendous contributions that Blacks are making in Madison, in the Midwest, and throughout this country.”
Dr. Taylor discussed the hope in seeing current developments that look to give Black people the unimpeded opportunity that has been sought after by Black people across the country since Reconstruction, a period where backlash attacks on Black attainment were frequent and echo to the present. When imagining why now is the time more than ever for a “Renaissance,” Dr. Taylor made it clear that it mostly has to do with a concentrated push over the last decade by the Black community to build what it needed for itself.
“The film suggests a number of reasons, of not only the Black community coming together and expressing the need for change over the past five years, but the Race to Equity Report embarrassed political leaders in the city with the wide racial gaps,” said Dr. Taylor. “People felt that there had to be something done to address those real fundamental issues. If you look at the film, I think I list about six different reasons why we reached this point, but the main point is the Black community. The Black community was ready for change, and we had opportunities and people in places to make that happen.”
“Leader of Madison’s Black Renaissance” captures different areas of Black people doing amazing work in the Madison area highlighting education, youth services, human services, healthcare, business, artists, criminal justice, politics, Black church & community services, and media with the Black leadership present throughout. While the film can be purchased from Dr. Taylor’s website, The Fitchburg Senior Center Black History Month celebration on February 16 will feature the film for free with the event beginning at 1 p.m. and lasting until 3:30 pm.
“When people see the film, I’ve had so many expressions that ‘I had no idea all this was happening in Madison!’” Dr. Taylor said of the reactions he has had so far. “’I had no idea that this was going on in education or in employment or in health care.’ If you do nothing else but raise awareness of Black people’s ability and potential, at least you moved the fence post. Black history is extremely important because it’s American history. Without Black history, there would be no American history. Coming out to events like this, you’re not only giving yourself some self-knowledge, you’re also expressing support of the things that the Black community is trying to accomplish in Madison.”