“With our African American History Month we discussed social issues; we experienced and engaged the arts [and] we created a connection through a virtual digital experience with Ghana,” said Janice Murray-Laury, Vice President of Student Affairs. "We are making connections all around the world.”
The documentary took place on Monday, February 29, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Building.
“I am so honored to be representing optimum community as we partner up with the Smithsonian Channel to bring you this exclusive screening of their original documentary The Hammer of Hank Aaron… We are grateful for Kean University for such a beautiful space, a beautiful home for this partial screening that also affords us the opportunity to provide you unique opportunity to pick the brains of some of the creators of this film,” said Shawan Ryan, representative from the optimum community.
Hank Aaron helped turned baseball into the national pastime it is today. He helped enhance material and state-of-the-art production techniques and fresh historical and psychological perspectives. He is referred to the unexpected conqueror that rose from obscurity and depths of adversity. Victory came at a great price for Aaron as he never wavered in the fight for civil rights.
“The event was very inspirational and so was the movie,” said Brittany Birth, freshman therapeutic recreation/ pre-occupational therapy major. “It helped me appreciate sports and doing what I love more. It was important for Kean University to host this event because it really opened up the students' eyes about discrimination and how things could change.”
Students, staff, faculty and guests quickly filled the second floor of the STEM building where they were greeted with mini water bottles and popcorn to enjoy during the movie. A red carpet and a photo back-drop were also set up for pictures.
“I thought it was very well put together and at first thought it would be just a biography on Hank Arron's life, but it went deeper than that and I really appreciated that,” said Bridget Parise, sophomore marketing major. “Also, it was very well directed, thought it could have been played in a movie theatre.”
The event concluded with a question and answer (Q&A) section with Josh Oshinsky, Director of The Hammer of Hank Aaron, and Dr. Damion Thomas, Museum Curator of Sports and Nation Museum of African American History Culture.
“By Kean University showing this film it was a way to end [African American] History Month on a high note,” said Shannan McCarthy, freshman special education major. “We were at an exclusive screening of this film and I believe showing it benefited the students.”