“A Lesson On Change” MLK Documentary from GameDesk.
“This never before seen footage captures the heart break and the long sighted vision of one Miss Delores Diggs, as she eloquently explains the loss of Dr. King to her young students.”
By: Matthew Clausen
My Grandfather, Carl Vincent Clausen, was a professor of Cinematography and Screen Writing at the Ohio State University during the 1960′s. In the spring of 1968, he received modest funding to make a documentary about what change meant to both African American and white students in the Columbus Ohio School district. Although segregation had officially ended with “Brown vs. the Board of Education”, the schools were still highly racially differentiated. He was scheduled to start filming on April 5th 1968.
The night before, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered.
Ignoring protestations from his crew, my Grandfather refused to cancel the shoot. The result is this film, “A Lesson on Change”. It captures the heart break and the long sighted vision of one Miss Delores Diggs, as she eloquently explains the loss of Dr. King to her young students. Amidst the horror and tragedy of the day, this hero, this teacher, beautifully elevates and translates misery into hope, anger into love and violence into solidarity.
“A Lesson on Change” was given to me by my grandmother in a large, rusty 16mm canister. I was able to convert it to mini-DV before leaving Ohio for graduate school at the University of Southern California School of Cinema Arts, the same graduate school that Carl was attending when my father was born.
I sat with Carl and we watched the film. I had never seen him cry before. Although his dementia was advanced by then, he became very lucid. He told me that this was the most important film he had ever made.
This film was never released to the public, and it seems that today on Martin Luther King Day, and the same day that our first African American president has been sworn into office for a second term, it is a good moment to the remember and to see.
It is with bravery and beauty, like Dr. King, like Miss Delores Diggs, and like Carl, that the world receives it’s lesson on change.
Thank you for watching and appreciating.