Two documentary projects shed light on Pittsburgh's Black history | Pittsburgh City Paper

Two documentary projects shed light on Pittsburgh's Black history

click to enlarge A Black man wearing glasses works at a desk.
Photo: Courtesy of Rishi Sethi/Malhari Media
JaQuay Edward Carter in Hazelwood Alive
As the Pittsburgh film scene continues to expand, so does the scope of the local stories filmmakers are able to tell. Malhari Media has taken this approach, resulting in films highlighting social issues and important figures. This weekend, the production company will show Pittsburgh audiences just the kind of stories they’re looking to tell.

This Sat., Dec. 10, Malhari will screen a short documentary, Hazelwood Alive, and preview its next project, Brashear: Opening an American High School. The screening, taking place for free at the First Hungarian Reformed Church, will showcase JaQuay Edward Carter and the Hazelwood neighborhood as a whole.

Carter is many things: a veteran, a historian, and a Pittsburgher. Even at his young age, his work is staggering, being drawn back to his hometown neighborhood to try and single-handedly preserve the culture of a community. He created the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh and Cultural Center and the Black History Society of Western Pennsylvania, dedicated to preserving and researching the legacy of Black culture in the region.

As part of his mission to preserve Pittsburgh's Black history, Carter, as a contributor for Very Local, profiled Ajax Jones. In the late 1800s, well before Ed Gainey took office, Jones technically served as the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh (his term lasted three days.)

The 15-minute documentary, directed by Bálint Oltvai, honors Carter's work, and what it means for the city. The accompanying preview will give insight into Malhari’s next feature documentary, a look at Brashear High School during its formation, from its founding in 1976 through its early years. As a racially integrated high school, Brashear faced challenges many couldn’t even conceive of at the time, and the film, directed by Patrick Stanny, will interview many of the major players involved and explore how those challenges took shape in the real world.

Both films will be accompanied by a Q&A with the filmmakers and subjects, moderated by Dr. Harry Clark, the former principal of Pittsburgh CAPA High School. While both short screenings, the filmmakers and Malhari hope that this kind of event can provide an insight into Pittsburgh’s rich history, and show the work of underappreciated voices in making the city what it is today.
Hazelwood Alive. 6:15 p.m. Doors at 5:30 p.m. First Hungarian Reformed Church. 221 Johnston Ave., Hazelwood. Free. Registration required at Eventbrite

Cupid's Undie Run in Pittsburgh, 2024
18 images

Cupid's Undie Run in Pittsburgh, 2024

By Mars Johnson