Paley documentary and discussion draws large and appreciative audience
Work of photojournalist Bob Paley featured in 'More Than Words,' a documentary co-directed by his daughter
More than 450 people filled Albany's Page Hall on Friday, Nov. 16, for a screening of "More Than Words," a documentary on the career of the late Bob Paley, a photographer for the Albany Knickerbocker News from 1946 to 1974. The event was co-sponsored by the NYS Writers Institute, WMHT, and the Times Union.
The documentary, co-directed by Paley's daughter, Mary Paley, told the story of a young boy whose fascination with cameras led to an award-winning career as a photojournalist. Paley's photographs show how Albany coped with the powerful forces unleashed as America came of age in the years following World War II.
A panel discussion moderated by Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain followed the screening. Spain and fellow panelist Joann Crupi had worked with Paley when they began their careers at the Knickerbocker News. Other panelists included Mary Paley; Dr. Alice Green, founder and executive director of the Center for Law and Justice in Albany; and Richard Lovrich, photographer, creative director at Proctors in Schenectady and former art director at the Times Union.
Copies of the DVD are available at tntdfilm.com.
Powerful words, ripples of hope
I had that feeling at the start of our Tuesday, Nov. 13, event with Alexander Heffner, editor of "A Documentary History of the United States," at the NYS Museum in Albany.
Lightly attended, I felt badly for our guest as well as the eight community members who volunteered to read excerpts from documents both familiar and unfamiliar.
The sad feeling swept away quickly. Spontaneous applause erupted after our first speaker, Willie Dean Jr., finished his reading from the Declaration of Independence, which we all know begins with the iconic words: "All men are created equal..."
Siena Professor Krysta Dennis followed with Elizabeth Cady Stanton's eloquent reply to Jefferson. In 1848, she wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal... The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her."
Remember the Missing Persons' song from the '80s with the chorus, "What are words for when no one listens anymore?"
Even louder applause. Game on.
UAlbany senior Shanair Price read from Harriet Tubman; UAlbany Professor Kyra Gaunt read a letter written by her great-great-grandfather, a brave man who escaped from slavery in 1855. Sheridan W. Ford, writing from the safety of Boston, wrote "I love my freedom."
Craig Gravina read an excerpt from FDR's 'Four Freedoms' speech delivered on the eve of World War II; Albany Common Councilman Owusu Anane read from a Justice Thurgood Marshall speech on civility; and UAlbany PhD student Cassie Andrusz-Ho Ching closed the evening with a heartfelt excerpt from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The highlight of the evening: Words from Robert F. Kennedy delivered in a speech to 18,000 students in Cape Town, South Africa in 1966. Maeve McEneny Johnson read from Kennedy's speech:
"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
What are words for? Their ripples carry through time, giving us hope and inspiration to create a better society.
-- Michael Huber, NYS Writers Institute