Saturday, 5:00 pm EST February 18, 2023
The Center for Fiction
The Center for Fiction and Color Farm Media (John Lewis: Good Trouble; Finding Tamika) present a screening of The Big Payback, a film about reparations for African Americans. The documentary follows Alderman Robin Rue Simmons’ Fight to pass the first government-funded reparations program for Black Americans in Evanston, Illinois, alongside Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as she leads a national movement. Featuring interviews with political figures including Simmons Lee, scholars on the subject like Ta-Nehisi Coates, and community members who support reparations and others who remain skeptical, the documentary highlights the legislative process toward restorative justice in a Chicago suburb and throughout the United States. Don’t miss this rich and lively exploration of a subject that historically evaded political action—until a small Chicago suburb and two fearless women challenged the status quo. Co-directors Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow will lead the audience in a community discussion directly after the screening.
Presented in partnership with Color Farm Media.
Erika Alexander is an actress and creator, making her directorial debut with The Big Payback, co-directed with Whitney Dow, which chronicles the story of the first reparations bill in American history for African Americans. She is a co-founder of Color Farm Media and serves as a board member for One Fair Wage and Exponent.
Whitney Dow is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator, whose work has focused on race and identity for more than two decades. His directorial credits include I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, POV’s Two Towns of Jasper, and the Independent Lens documentaries When the Drum is Beating and The Big Payback.
About the Film
The Big Payback
For the first time in American history, a tax funded reparations bill targeted for Black Americans is passed in Evanston, IL. The film follows the fight of rookie alderman Robin Rue Simmons as she leads the community in an uphill battle to obtain this ‘big payback’.
Meanwhile, in Washington DC, the formidable Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee continues the fight to pass HR 40: a national bill to examine the merits of introducing reparations for slavery to African Americans.
Together, they pressure the government to deliver monetary justice and appropriate remedies for Black Americans harmed by centuries of chattel slavery, state-sponsored terrorism, systemic injustice, and corporate exploitation. Will the debt ever be addressed, or is it too late for a reparations movement to finally get the big payback?
About this series
Our On America series brings writers, journalists, activists, and change-makers together to reflect on the critical issues of our times. Who are we and who are we becoming? How do the stories we tell shape who we are as a nation? Will we rise to the challenges we face?
The Center for Fiction Presents De'Shawn Charles Winslow on Decent People with Garth Greenwell
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EST February 8, 2023
Martin Riker on The Guest Lecture with Hilary Leichter
Thursday, 7:00 pm EST February 9, 2023
Booking for Love: LGBTQ+ Edition
Friday, 6:00 pm EST - 8:00 pm EST February 10, 2023
Salon d'Ayiti Featuring The Haiti ReaderFree
Saturday, 2:00 pm EST - 6:00 pm EST February 11, 2023
The Craft of Fiction: Flash Fiction and Innovative Forms with Kim Chinquee, Eugene Lim, and Dawn Raffel
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EST February 15, 2023
The Center for Fiction Presents Jamila Minnicks on Moonrise Over New Jessup with Robert Jones, Jr.
Thursday, 7:00 pm EST February 16, 2023
The Center for Fiction Presents Rebecca Makkai on I Have Some Questions for You with Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry
Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST February 21, 2023
The Center for Fiction and Harper's Magazine Present the Art of the Short Story: Jai Chakrabarti, Hernan Diaz, and Gunnhild Øyehaug with Joanna Biggs
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EST February 22, 2023
An Intimate Evening Salon with Colm Tóibín (Sold Out)$49
Thursday, 7:00 pm EST February 23, 2023
The Café & Bar Presents Royalties: An Exhibit B Reading Series
Saturday, 5:00 pm EST February 25, 2023
On America: Alvin Hall on Driving the Green Book with Jelani Cobb
Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST February 28, 2023
The Center for Fiction Presents Jennifer Egan on The Candy House
Tuesday, 7:00 pm EST March 7, 2023
Eleanor Catton Launches Birnam Wood with Meg Wolitzer
Wednesday, 7:00 pm EST March 8, 2023
The Center for Fiction Presents Owen King on The Curator with Anna North
Thursday, 7:00 pm EST March 9, 2023