The Influence of Black Representation in Films and Redlining

Two Research & Technology students held a presentation on the studies they conducted

Campus Life > The Influence of Black Representation in Films and Redlining

Research & Technology students Maria Irvin and Elara Trenchfield presented their projects to the Kean community.

Khali Raymond, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted the Student Research Seminar where two students from a Research and Technology course gave a presentation on the studies they conducted for their projects. The entire discussion was facilitated by Lydia Kaplan, M.Ed., a professor with the School of General Studies.

The event was held via Zoom from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. Students Maria Irvin and Elara Trenchfield were the main stars of the show as they presented to the audience the manifestations of their research and insight on their topics.

Maria Irvin began her presentation with the historical influence of black representation in film. In her presentation, she gave information about how the representation of color has been directly and indirectly influenced by history.


Maria showcased several films that depicted various key moments in black history such as the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

In addition to the films she showcased, Maria showed a timeline of the significant events that happened throughout black history along with movies that correlated to it.

"It was interesting to research these individuals," said Irvin upon ending her presentation while talking about key people such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Jeff Brown and other key figures that play a role in history.

When sharing her feelings on the cruelty she witnessed, Maria sympathized with the victims of racism that endured cruel treatment by the system.

"These inexcusable acts of violence profoundly affects me," she clarified. "It is so important to remember the past and learn from it so we could improve."

Elara Trenchfield did her presentation on gentrification and redlining in black neighborhoods.

A lot of her research surrounded the negative effects that such policies had in neighborhoods housing ethnic minorities through cutting funding for schools, denying residents a chance to own and rent homes and depriving them of resources.


To support her research, Elara had a series of color coded maps showing how state governments would determine whether a certain neighborhood was deemed habitable for the majority population.

After presenting her facts and necessary information, Elara played a video done by The Root explaining how redlining has shaped black America for the worst rather than the better.

"It is important that we get this information out there because a lot of people do not know that the areas they are living in are being redlined or even gentrified," said Trenchfield. "That is something people need to research and study on."

Upon sharing her thoughts on the information she presented before the audience, Elara gave them a call to action.

"People need to share that knowledge so that it can get out there," said Trenchfield. "It was intentionally created that way so other Americans could have that opportunity to invest."

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion supports a campus-wide initiative to solidify a community that promotes diversity amongst all students, faculty and staff. More information about the office can be found on Cougar Link.

about the author

Khali Raymond, Staff Writer


Khali Raymond is a senior majoring in English with a writing concentration. He attained his associate's in business administration from Berkeley College - Newark in 2019. In addition to his work as a staff writer, he is also a published author, spoken word artist, musician, activist and is the president of Kean Got Talent, a performing arts club on campus. Khali uses his creativity to overcome all adversity and impact the lives of those around him.