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WVU Parkersburg and the Historic Smoot Theatre to host “Challenges to Democracy” film series

West Virginia University at Parkersburg and the Smoot Theatre will host the film series, “Challenges to Democracy” during the fall 2018 semester. “Lincoln,” the first movie in the series, will be shown Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Smoot Theatre. A panel discussion will follow the film.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln” is a historical drama that recounts the last four months of President Abraham Lincoln’s life. The end of the Civil War is near, and Lincoln attempts to negotiate peace with the South while trying to outlaw slavery by fighting for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. “Lincoln” received 10 Oscar nominations and won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Best Achievement in Production Design.

“WVU Parkersburg is fortunate to partner with the Historic Smoot Theatre to explore four examples of challenges to democracy,” said Dr. Chad Crumbaker, WVU Parkersburg vice president for academic and student affairs. “Each one demonstrates times when the founding principles of all people ‘being created equal’ and ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ are put to the test.”

Future movie showings include:

October 11, 6:30 p.m.: “Selma”
Dr. Martin King Jr. leads a dangerous campaign for equal voting rights for African Americans in Alabama, but ultimately promotes a change that forever alters history. The march from Selma to Montgomery, Dr. King’s speech at Alabama’s state capital, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 signing become some of the most significant victories in the civil rights movement.

November 8, 6:30 p.m.: “Milk”
Forty-year-old Harvey Milk gains focus as a gay rights activist in San Francisco, which turns to political activism as Milk sees he can be a more effective voice for the gay community as a politician. In 1977, Milk becomes the nation’s first openly gay man elected to a public office, but he must fight against a statewide initiative that bars gays and their supporters from public school jobs.

December 13, 6:30 p.m.: “Election”
Jim McAllister is a social studies teacher at Carver High, and one of his students, Tracy Flick, is running unopposed for class president. To establish a more democratic election, McAllister persuades a varsity football player to run against Flick. However, Flick uses unethical methods to win the student body’s vote.

Tickets are free to WVU Parkersburg students who present a current, valid student ID and $5 for the general public.

For more information, contact the Office of Academic and Student Affairs at or 304.424.8209.

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