Montel Williams (yes, that Montel Williams) is leading a National School Boards Association initiative to bring Solomon Northup’s 1857 memoir "12 Years a Slave" into America’s high school classrooms next year. The film adaptation of Northup’s remarkable story is one of the favorites for this year’s Academy Award.
In a recently released statement, Williams underscored the film’s importance:
12 Years a Slave is one of the most impactful films in recent memory, and I am honored to have been able to bring together Fox Searchlight and National School Boards Association to maximize its educational potential. When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool. This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future, and I’m proud to be a part of that.