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The Whole Staircase: Films Celebrating 400 Years of African American History & Culture

The HelpThe Help (2011)

Ms. Sunshine Nealy selected this film for inclusion in The Whole Staircase Film Series. 

As Ms. Nealy explains, "I selected this film because it reminds me of the stories that my great-grandmother and great-aunt would often share with me about working as a maid.  I often wonder if given this courageous opportunity would they have taken it?  And if so which character they see themselves as.   This film also reveals the nature of racial injustice for African American women during this timeframe and their courage to make a change.  After watching this film, I hope people are encouraged to make positive changes in their own lives and communities."

Sunshine Nealy is an Adult Education Program Specialist at SJR State and specializes in recruitment and operations. Sunshine received her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo University in Business Administration and Management. Previously, she worked in Admissions at the University of Florida. She is heavily involved in the community with her involvement in youth sports, church youth, and children ministries.   

Screening Dates and Locations

August 29, 2019

5:30 p.m., Palatka Campus Library

Members of the Race Issues Study Circle will be in attendance.

All are welcome to this free event!

April 11, 2019
Palatka Campus - Building A, Valhalla Hall from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

All are welcome!

If you need an interpreter, please email Dr. Will at least 2 days before the event.

Film Information: The Help

"In 1960s Mississippi, Skeeter, a southern society girl, returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives, and a small Mississippi town, upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen, Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up, to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community." - distributor's synopsis

Run time: 146 minutes

This film is rated PG-13 for thematic material.

Licensed through Swank

Resources for Further Exploration: The Help

Online Resources

Race and Films About Women: The Importance of The Help - from The Root

The Maids’ Now Have Their Say - NYT review

Black-and-White Struggle With a Rosy Glow - written by Nelson George for The New York Times

Is 'The Help' heroic or stereotyping? - from CNN

Books and eBooks at the SJR State Library

Please note: eBooks are only available to current SJR State students, faculty, and staff with a MySJRstate login.

Celebration • Education • Reflection

H.R.1242/Public Law 115-102, the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act, establishes 2019 as a year of "commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies, at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619."  The commemoration is intended “to recognize and highlight the resilience and contributions of African-Americans since 1619; to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States; and to educate the public about the arrival of Africans in the United States; and the contributions of African-Americans to the United States.” In recognition of this commemoration and with the Act serving as a guide, the SJR State Library has organized a year-long series of events that will provide educational experiences and resources to students and the community that celebrate the history and culture of African Americans.

Site created and maintained by Dr. Christina Will. Pages will be added and maintained throughout 2019.
Maintenance will cease at the end of 2019 but this site will remain accessible.