Gary Jenkins doesn't believe in the idea of Black History Month. "It's American history month," he says. Designations aside, the lawyer and part-time documentary filmmaker celebrates February with three screenings of his newest documentary, Negroes to Hire. The film, based on a collection of slave narratives that were gathered through the Federal Writers' Project (1936-38), sheds cinematic light on the culture of slave life in antebellum Missouri. Jenkins, himself a descendant of Missouri slaveholders, hopes the documentary will inspire conversation about a contentious topic of Missouri history. The first screening is at 2 p.m. today at Peters Theater on the campus of William Jewell College (500 College Hill in Liberty). On hand for the post-film program: Jenkins, retired professor Jimmy Johnson (a descendant of Platte County slaves), Diane Mutti-Burke of UMKC and Marla Renee Smith, a direct descendant of a slave. Call 816-781-7700 for details.
Sun., Feb. 7, 2 p.m., 2010