Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Broadcast and Digital Journalism
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature | Spanish Linguistics | Spanish Literature
“Looking Back and Moving Forward” is a captivative short documentary that captures the essence of Samana, Dominican Republic, home to a sizeable African American population for nearly two centuries. This community, grounded in faith, has undergone many changes over the past two hundred years.
In the film, documentarian Stephanie Claytor sets out to explore these changes, such as switching the language in the schools and churches from English to Spanish, and the transformation of the economy from agriculture to tourism. She takes the story back to Philadelphia to get a grasp of the history and the reasons for why this large group of freed slaves immigrated to what was then Hayti in the first place. Claytor examines these topics by interviewing four key people in the Dominican Republic , who represent the opinion of various generations and two people in Philadelphia, who are versed on the history of their congregation, Mother Bethel AME, whose founder Richard Allen helped the freed slaves leave the country. Throughout the documentary, Claytor captures extraordinary video, that mixes the old culture with the new, while showing that the Samana community’s dependence on faith, one of the things that hasn’t changed.
In conclusion, this documentary is sure to grab anyone’s attention because it is the story of American, Dominican, and Haitian history, lost in the past. This documentary inspires people to visit Samana to meet the people living there. Also, after watching the film, people feel motivated to help members of the Samana community get visas so they can travel to the United States to meet the rest of their families, who stayed behind.
Claytor, Stephanie, "Looking Back and Moving Forward: African Americans Descendants Living in the Dominican Republic" (2010). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 321.
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