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Becoming American Film Screening Today - Welcome to Shelbyville

  • Date: October 1, 2018
  • Time: 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  • Location: Andrew Foster Auditorium

See description at bottom of body in text.


Second Becoming American Film Screening on Monday, October 1: Welcome to Shelbyville, noon-2 p.m., in the Andrew Foster Auditorium, with a repeat screening at 7:30 p.m. in Chapel Hall, in the Gallaudet University Museum.


This powerful documentary focuses on a small Tennessee town in the heart of the Bible Belt as it grapples with discrimination in the face of changing demographics. Shelbyville’s long-time residents are challenged with how to best integrate the recent arrival of hundreds of Somali refugees of Muslim faith, hired by the local Tyson chicken-processing plant. As the town erupts in controversy, we hear from all parts of the community: Latino workers grappling with their own immigrant identity; longtime African American residents balancing perceived threats to their livelihood against the values they learned from their own civil rights struggles; the Somali refugees attempting to make new lives for their families and maintain their dignity in a hostile new land; and white civic and church leaders who are attempting to guide their congregations and citizens through a period of unprecedented change.

Image: Orange background, with an abstract drawing of a woman with dark complexion and a hijab head scarf holding a small American flag.  Above her “Welcome to Shelbyville” is in white script font on top of a blue outline map of the state of Tennessee with a white star in the lower middle.

About BECOMING AMERICAN: A Documentary Film Series on Our Immigration Experience

From September 24 - October 29, the Drs. John S. & Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center, in collaboration with the Gallaudet University Museum and the Multicultural Student Development and Mentoring program, will host "Becoming American" a documentary series on U.S. immigration. 

Becoming American is a project of City Lore in collaboration with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience.  The project has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the HumanitiesExploring the Human Endeavor.  Films represent a selection of diverse immigration experiences drawn from both the past and the present. At each film screening we strive to add a "Deaf lens" to the topics raised. William Ennis, III, PhD, will introduce each film, provide historical context and co-moderate discussions.

Film screenings and discussion will be on Mondays, noon-2 p.m. in the Andrew Foster Auditorium on the Gallaudet University campus.  All screenings are free and open to the public.  Films are captioned.  Discussion will be in American Sign Language and spoken English.  For individual interpreting requests please contact Gallaudet Interpreting Services at  This film series has been pre-approved for RID CEUs.  Forms will be available at each screening/discussion, with .2 CEUs per screening event for a total of 1.2 CEUs for the series.

For those who cannot attend the Monday, noon-2 p.m. screening and discussion, an evening showing of the film will be offered on the same days, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Chapel Hall.  The evening screening is in ASL with English captions for the film.  Interpretation for the evening screening is available if requested one week in advance.

Gallaudet University is one of thirty-two sites nationwide selected to host this program series. 

Becoming American Screening Schedule:

September 24: New York and The Jewish Americans (clips from each)  

October 1:  Welcome to Shelbyville 

October 8: The New Americans 

October 15: Destination America, Episode 1 "The Golden Door"

October 22:  My American Girls 

October 29: The Search for General Tso 

For further information about the program, including a synopsis of each film:

For extensive educational materials:

Image description:  Becoming American in white print on top of a square b + w photo with a blue sepia tint.  The image from the early 1900s shows dozens of people carrying suitcases, boxes and bags.  Several wear identification tags on their clothing.   Under the image, in black print: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on Our Immigration Experience.

Posted by Jean Bergey | Posted August 17, 2018 at 11:11 AM


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002