'12 Years A Slave' To Be Incorporated In Public High School Curriculums

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 02/24/2014 | 12:00 AM EST

Montel Williams joins The National School Boards Association to bring the Oscar-nominated film - and original novel - to classrooms across the country

The award-winning and already decorated 12 Years A Years will be hitting new territory, as it will be incorporated in public high school curriculums around the nation.

In a press release, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) announced that copies of the film - which is based on the true autobiography by Solomon Northup - the original novel and study guides will be distributed in classrooms in September 2014.

“The National School Boards Association is honored to partner with Fox Searchlight Pictures and Penguin Books to ensure that every public high school student in America has the opportunity to stare the stark realities of slavery in the eye through books and film,” said NSBA President David A. Pickler.

“We believe that providing America’s public high school students the opportunity to bear witness to such an unrelenting view of the evils of slavery is essential toward ensuring that this history is never forgotten and must never be repeated.”

The educational initiative is also coordinated by Montel Williams, who participated in a similar effort through his former talk show by distributing copies of the Civil War film Glory to public high schools.

“12 Years a Slave is one of the most impactful films in recent memory, and I am honored to have been able to bring together Fox Searchlight and National School Boards Association to maximize its educational potential. When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool. This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future, and I’m proud to be a part of that,” said Williams.

The film’s director Steve McQueen says he’s also pleased to be a part of this educational effort.

“Since first reading 12 Years a Slave, it has been my dream that this book be taught in schools. I am immensely grateful to Montel Williams and the National School Boards Association for making this dream a reality and for sharing Solomon Northup’s story with today’s generation,” McQueen said.

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