Alice’s Ordinary People/Screening & Discussion

There will be a screening of Alice’s Ordinary People on Thurs, May 16, from 6–8pm at Whitewater’s public library, the Irvin L Young Memorial Library (431 W Center St, Whitewater). The filmmaker, Craig Dudnick, will provide an introduction and lead the discussion. This event is free and open to all. UW-Whitewater students and staff also may view the documentary film via Andersen Library’s Kanopy streaming video database. You can read Dudnick’s comments about the documentary online via Imagine Video, and at that site is a link to a recording of a radio interview with Dudnick about the documentary.

This summary in Kanopy describes the film:

Alice Tregay’s story of ordinary people effecting extraordinary change for human rights. Alice’s life story reads like a history of the movement. Early on she fought the “Willis Wagons.” The second class structures were built to relieve overcrowding in those Chicago schools which served the African American community. Their very existence perpetuated segregation.

In 1966, Dr. King came to Chicago. Alice and her husband James Tregay, marched with him, often at great personal risk. It was at this time that Dr. King joined the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and the Reverend James Bevel to form Operation Breadbasket. Breadbasket fought racism on many fronts, but its main task was jobs for African Americans, particularly from those businesses drawing profits from the African American community.

Under the leadership of Reverend Jackson, the months that Alice and her “ordinary people” spent picketing led to real change. But it was through her Political Education class, that Alice’s had her most significant impact. Over a four year period, thousands were trained to work in independent political campaigns. This new force was integral to the re-election of Ralph Metcalf to Congress (this time as an independent democrat), to the election of Harold Washington, mayor, and to making Barack Obama, our first African American President.

Would you like to learn more? Andersen Library may be able to help, with articles such as “Resisting the “Willis Wagons”: Do you remember 1963?” (Chicago Citizen, 1999, Dec.30, p. 2.) in the ProQuest Ethnic NewsWatch database. When displaying the article, there are links to related articles on the right. An obituary is available online as well: “Celebration of life and service for civil rights activist Alice Tregay” (Chicago Defender, 2015, Apr 29, p.4). Two entries in the extension of remark pages of the Congressional Record, both entered by Hon. Janice D. Schakowsky in the House of Representatives, are online. One was entered before Tregays’ death on February 16, 2012 and the other on April 23, 2015 after her death.

Please ask a librarian (email, chat, phone 262.472.1032, or visit the Reference Desk) for assistance with finding additional materials.

About Barbara

I am a Reference & Instruction librarian, head of that department in Andersen Library, an associate professor, and a member of the General Education Review Committee and Faculty Senate. I've been working at UW-W since July 1, 1990.
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