UMW to Host Premiere of James Farmer Documentary

The University of Mary Washington will host the premiere of the documentary film “The Good Fight: James Farmer Remembers the Civil Rights Movement” by AMS Pictures. The exclusive screening of the 65-minute film has been rescheduled from Friday, February 12 to Tuesday, February 16 at 7 p.m. in George Washington Hall, Dodd Auditorium. A Black History Month event, the premiere is open to the public without charge.

“We are delighted to host the premiere of ‘The Good Fight,’ the groundbreaking documentary about one of the university’s most historic and beloved figures,” said Judy G. Hample, UMW president. “James Farmer was a civil rights pioneer whose life, work and memory continue to inform and enrich our community in so many ways.”

“The Good Fight” chronicles Farmer’s life from his days as a debater at Wiley College through his time teaching at UMW. Farmer was a principal founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and organizer of the Freedom Rides in the early 1960s. A colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Farmer is considered to be one of the “Big Four” Civil Rights Movement leaders.

The final stage of the film focuses on Farmer’s days teaching at UMW where he was distinguished professor of history and American studies from 1985 to 1998. His course, “An Introduction to the Civil Rights Movement,” was the most popular class in the college curriculum, with annual enrollments of more than 500 students. The documentary also describes the university’s efforts to preserve Farmer’s legacy through audio recordings of his class lectures and other means.

Farmer died in Fredericksburg in 1999 at age 79.

In conjunction with the premiere, the award-winning UMW Debate Team was scheduled to host a debate with Hampton University at 4 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium, but the event was postponed to a future date.

The topic is “Resolved: National Standardized Tests Should Be Eliminated as a College Admission Requirement.” UMW has a long tradition of excellence in intercollegiate debate. The UMW debate team won the American Debate Association’s 2009 Varsity National Championship.

For more information, contact Tim O’Donnell, director of debate, at or (540) 654-1252.

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