On Friday, Nov. 16, Portsmouth Public Media (PPMtv) and the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH) will host a screening of the groundbreaking locally produced 1949 film entitled "Lost Boundaries," followed by a discussion and Q & A with the audience. This is the fourth event of the Meet Me at the Meetinghouse series at PPMtv. "Lost Boundaries" is based on a true NH family melodrama that depicts racial and social injustice in the 30’s and 40’s and illustrates the ongoing theme that one’s moral character should have nothing to do with one’s race.
Produced by Louis DeRochemont (renowned for The March of Time news films for movie audiences before television) the scenes in the film are all in New England and you’re sure to recognize some from UNH and Portsmouth. Black Heritage Trail site #23 denotes DeRochemont’s arrangement to set up the film’s headquarters at the Rockingham Hotel, in Portsmouth. The owner was reluctant to open his hotel to black people, but then changed his policy under the threat of losing all of DeRochemont’s business.
According to J. Dennis Robinson’s history column posted March 5, 2018 in the Portsmouth Herald: “Portsmouth’s first-ever world premier on June 22, 1949, drew 3,100 viewers to four showings at the Colonial and Olympia theaters downtown. The Portsmouth Herald reported that the audience had to ‘choke back the emotions aroused by the bold story’. At the premier, one of the real life characters depicted in the film, Albert Johnston, Jr., and his family appeared on stage. The Portsmouth audience, filled with pride and admiration, erupted in thunderous applause.”
Bill Humphreys, executive director of PPMtv says, “We are honored and excited to host this event. There are important messages in 'Lost Boundaries' that are still very relevant today. This screening will undoubtedly elicit interesting and personal insights from the audience.” After the film showing, special guests from Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will provide their own comments. Guests include JerriAnne Boggis, executive director; Rev. Robert Thompson, president of the Board of Directors, and Valerie Fagin, tour guide and Sankofa Scholar.
The BHTNH is committed to telling New Hampshire’s forgotton stories and to open hearts and minds for the deeper understanding and recognition of our shared American heritage. Meet Me at the Meetinghouse is an ongoing program offering the community an opportunity to gather for entertainment and education. Since 1866 the historic South Meetinghouse has been a place for people to come together to share ideas and conversation. PPMtv is excited to host programs that support this location’s long tradition and history. The Old South Meetinghouse has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., film at 7 p.m., with refreshments provided. Suggested donation is $12. Space is limited and we invite you to RSVP at www.ppmtvnh.org/meet-me-at-the-meetinghouse/ All proceeds will go toward PPMtv and BHTNH, both nonprofit organizations founded to benefit telling the stories of our community.