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Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 7:00 pm ET | Online
For years on Saturday nights, white authorities in Enfield, NC blew a siren-like whistle, warning Black people to clear the downtown streets. This curfew was one of the many demeaning practices used to keep the Black population separate and unequal. Through the narratives of Willa Cofield, her former students, and current residents of the town, “The Nine O’Clock Whistle” tells the story of a dramatic cultural movement from 1963-1965 that rocked the segregated town and changed it forever.
Riverside is pleased to celebrate the gifts and accomplishments of educator and Civil Rights activist Willa Cofield who co-directed the film with Karen Riley. A regular attendee of The Riverside Church, including Virtual Coffee Hour, Ms. Cofield will be present for a Q&A after the screening.
“If we don’t tell our story, people will never know what happened in Enfield, NC.” – Willa Cofield
Willa Cofield is a retired educator with deep roots in Enfield, North Carolina.
Cofield researched and documented the history of the Joseph Keasbey Brick School and Junior College, a Black school that operated in North Carolina from 1895-1933
She organized a photographic exhibit, “Answering the Cry for Life and Liberty,” and produced an award-winning documentary The Brick School Legacy (2003) with Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia.
Recipient of numerous awards, Cofield is currently collaborating with a few of her former Enfield High School students writing a companion text to The Nine O’clock Whistle film about the impact of the 1960s on their identities as youth cultural workers.
Cofield is 93 years young. She has a daughter, Tanya Watson; two granddaughters, Erika and Korey, and two great-granddaughters, Maliyah and Skye