Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

SHAKER HEIGHTS: THE STRUGGLE FOR INTEGRATION

Year: 1998
Country: United States
Run Time: 55 minutes

Filmmaker Stuart Math submits a report card on a brave social experiment begun right here in Cleveland more than 35 years ago, when liberal activists used the city of Shaker Heights to reverse a pernicious naitonal trend of white flight whenever black families moved in. Special housing programs and a much-admired school system deliberately bred a cooperative, affluent suburb that looked like America - 65% white, 30% black. Then came the bombshell. In 1997 the Shaker Heights High student newspaper ran a front page bluntly detailing another statistic: 80% of black students were receiving below-average or failing grades. After the uproar and accusations had died down, Math, himself a former Clevelander, recorded the discourse on all sides of a racial divide few had acknowledged until then. Black-white separatism still existed, in school lunchrooms, athletics and, most ominous of all, academic excellence. Why? Were the hard-won prizes of the civil rights movement lost by its children? There are no easy solutions or facile fingers of blame in SHAKER HEIGHTS, but the thought-provoking documentary will stir audiences (everywhere) to ask the right questions.

Screenplay
Joshua Waletsky

Director
Stuart Math

Producer
Stuart Math

Cinematography
Stuart Math

Editing
Joshua Waletsky

Film Contact
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