The American Telephone and Telegraph Co. has sponsored six short black films for not necessarily black audiences.
Titled "The Black Contribution," the series is designed to convince the unconvinced that black Americans played major roles in shaping the mainstream American culture.
The product is by no means a cinematic work of art. However, it whould be highly effective in carrying out its main mission: "To help introduce young people of every color and creed to the countless achievements of black Americans in shaping our national culture and world leadership."
The series, which premiered here over the weekend at a glittery reception for the National Association for the advancement of Colored People, has all of the quality of a well-done television commercial. Those who see it will find it hard to forget.
Sephen R. Strosser, a University of Southern California education consultant who helped produce the series, said it is primarily targeted at junior and senior high school student audiences.
However, as is true of most good commercials, the film is suitable for persons in other walks of life -- govenment, corporate, philanthropic and community activists.
"These films are not meant to be a comprehensive black history.They in no way should be viewed as coming from a detailed historical Perspective," Strosser said.
Instead, he said the films are meant to "touch up on and emphasize major trends and themes" in black American history.
Strosser said that the series is meant to affect subliminal thought as well as being designed to make an immediate impact upon the viewer. "All through it, we tell them what we are going to tell them. We tell them, and then we tell them what we told them," he said.
In the six segments, which range from 11 to 21 minutes, the series does just that. It gives the message:
Blacks had a culture in the homeland.
Their culture was taken away by American slavery.
Blacks were genied an opportunity to ass imilate with mainstream America-they were denied the right to read, to exercise political power, to write, to form communities which could have alleviated their bondage.
In spite of, and because of those deprivations, black Americans developed a new form of music, dance, literature, art and political leadership that has had a profound effect on the history of the country.
The series fcatures major black American artists such as jazz musician George Benson, and dancers Geoffery Holder, Carmen De Lavallave and Alvin Ailey.