Burns to discuss ‘The Central Park Five’ documentary


Five African American and Latino teenagers were convicted of the 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in New York City’s Central Park and then spent between six and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the near-fatal crime.

How could this happen?

Author and filmmaker Sarah Burns will screen and discuss “The Central Park Five” – the award-winning documentary she co-directed with her father, Ken Burns, and husband, David McMahon – about the shocking crime and its tragic aftermath. The film is based on her book, “The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City’s Most Infamous Crimes”

Sarah Burns will speak at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Her screening and presentation is OWU’s 2019 Butler A. Jones Lecture on Race and Society. The event is free and open to the public.

“The Central Park Five” documentary debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. It has since been named the Best Non-Fiction film of 2012 by the New York Film Critics Circle and won a 2013 Peabody Award. The Los Angeles Times called the film, “a careful, thoughtful documentary that meticulously re-creates what happened on that night and details how and why everything went so terribly off-course.”

Since its release, Burns also has produced and directed, along with McMahon and Ken Burns, “Jackie Robinson,” a biography of the athlete and civil rights icon who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in the 1940s when he was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers by Ohio Wesleyan alumnus Branch Rickey.

Sarah Burns, who graduated from Yale University in 2004 with a degree in American studies, currently is working on a documentary about public housing in Atlanta.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Butler A. Jones Lectureship on Race and Society is sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Social Justice Program, and Black Student Union with several OWU departments, programs and offices: Journalism and Communication, Modern Foreign Languages, Film Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Black World Studies, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and President’s Office.

The lecture was established in 1995 in honor of Jones, Ph.D., a former sociology/anthropology faculty member. In contributing to the quest for equality among races, Jones submitted 10 briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving equal treatment of all citizens. Learn more at www.owu.edu/soan.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.


Special to The Gazette

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