12 Years a Slave to Be Part of Public High School Curriculum

Producer Dede Gardner, producer Jeremy Kleiner, director Steve McQueen, producer Anthony Katagas and actor Brad Pitt with their awards for best film for 12 Years a Slave at the British Academy Film Awards, on Feb. 16, 2014

Call it another win for 12 Years a Slave. The award-winning film will soon serve as another avenue for public high school students to learn about the harsh lessons of race in America, according to a news release.

The National School Boards Association is partnering with New Regency, Penguin Books and the filmmakers to distribute copies of the film, book and the study guide to the agonizing portrait of 19th-century American slavery to schools beginning September 2014, in concert with the new year.


Montel Williams, host of the Montel Williams Show, is coordinating the effort, which is modeled after the show’s distribution of the Civil War film Glory to public high schools.

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,” the release said. “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.”

The film has earned nine Oscar nominations, and just last week, it was named best film at the 2014 BAFTA awards. Before that, it scooped up the best drama at the Globe Awards.

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