February 26, 2010
Washington, D.C. – In recognition of the historic founding of the Black Stuntmen’s
Association and the Coalition of Black Stuntmen and Women, Nevada Senator Harry Reid announced a concurrent resolution which honors the contributions of the Association in its efforts to accomplish greater racial equality in the motion picture and television industry.
Below are Senator Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. President, I rise today to acknowledge a group that has created opportunities for countless African American men and women in the film and television industry. I rise to introduce this Senate Concurrent Resolution honoring the Black Stuntmen’s Association and the Coalition of Black Stuntmen and Women for their efforts to not only integrate, but enhance the television and film industry. This is a companion Resolution identical to H.CON.RES. 190 introduced by good friend, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley.
“I take great pride in introducing this Resolution not only because these individuals knocked down the walls racial discrimination, but also because many of these pioneers now reside in my home state of Nevada.
“In the 1950s and 1960’s few, African Americans had roles in television or film and rarely were given the opportunity work as stuntmen and women. Most often, the few opportunities available to individuals willing to engage the dangerous work as stuntmen were taken by whites, who donned dark make-up to look like the black actors they were portraying.
“To overcome the barrier of racism and many other obstacles to entertainment the industry, in 1967 a group of courageous men and women formed the Black Stuntmen’s Association. Even though many had to work other jobs, they took it upon themselves to train each other, often meeting three to four nights a week for several hours. They trained in parks, on beaches and just about anywhere they could set up equipment to practice tumbles and flips. They eventually progressed to disciplined training in automotives and driving techniques for cars and motorcycles.
“While erasing the stains for racism is a never-ending task, I commend the Black Stuntmen’s Association and the Coalition of Black Stuntmen and Women for their work on behalf of the entertainment industry and our nation.
“I hope my colleagues will join me and honoring them and co-sponsor this Resolution.
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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