Author, filmmaker Sarah Burns to present Atwood Lecture

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Author and filmmaker Sarah Burns, daughter of award-winning director Ken Burns, will discuss “Documenting Injustice: The Story Behind the Central Park Five and One of New York City’s Most Infamous Crimes” when she visits Salve Regina Thursday, April 25.

Presented as part of the University’s Atwood Lecture Series in partnership with Rhode Island PBS, Burns’s lecture will be given at 6:30 p.m. in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall.

Burns is the author of “The Central Park Five,” which tells the story of five minority teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. They were exonerated in 2002. Her book was made into a documentary movie that she co-directed with her father, along with her husband, filmmaker David McMahon.

In addition to her talk, Burns’s presentation at Salve Regina will include a screening of segments from the film, as well as a question and answer period.

The case, which famously came to be known as the Central Park jogger case, not only involved a horrific crime but the wrongful arrest and conviction of five black and Latino teenagers. Over a decade later, when DNA tests connected serial rapist Matias Reyes to the crime, the government, law enforcement, social institutions and media of New York were exposed as having undermined the individuals they were designed to protect.

Rhode Island PBS will air the full documentary at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 2, with rebroadcasts on PBS at 12:30 a.m. and noon Saturday, May 4 and on Learn at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 7.

1 comment

  1. Dear Sarah,

    I am thrilled to learn of your scheduled visit to Salve Regina this evening. How fortunate for Salve peeps and the community to have an opportunity to learn from you and your wisdom with regard to the Central Park Five.

    Sadly, I will be unable to attend your talk and presentation as I will be in class, just down the hall. Ever grateful for technology, I have set my DVR to record your documentary in its entirety.

    With gratitude,
    Dianne E. Arvisais,
    Graduate Student,
    Holistic Counseling Program

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