NFLPA Release Black History Month Project Filmed at Renowned TESTIFY Exhibit
WASHINGTON, D.C – In celebration of Black History Month, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) released part one of its four-part content series Tuesday documenting two NFL players as they experience the thought-provoking exhibit “TESTIFY: Americana from Slavery to Today” for the first time at Minneapolis Central Library’s Cargill Gallery.
Documented by Black Girl Film School (BGFS), the videos feature NFLPA player representatives Eric Kendricks and Harrison Phillips of the Minnesota Vikings learning about the extraordinary selections of art and artifacts from The Diane and Alan Page Collection. From a steel collar used on an enslaved person in 1820s Virginia to a brick from the White House crafted by enslaved men, women and sometimes children, Page – a Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Supreme Court justice – introduced Kendricks and Harrison to an array of unique items while sharing his personal journey and imparting knowledge from the intersection of labor rights and civil rights.
A new installment from the series will be released each Tuesday across the NFLPA’s digital platforms during February’s Black History Month, which aligns with the exhibit’s “TESTIFY Tuesdays” storytelling workshops at the library. Through this experience, several BGFS students were given the opportunity to learn filmmaking and technical skills behind the camera from the NFLPA’s team of producers, furthering the initiative’s mission to increase the number of Black women working and leading in the film, TV and media industries
“I think it’s important that Justice Page and his wife have created this exhibit because it connects us to our past and allows us to understand our present more than any type of text or video can ever do,” Kendricks said. “This is Black history in this museum, but ultimately it’s important for everyone to understand this is American history and a huge part of how things are playing out today.”
The exhibit features approximately 60 thoughtfully curated objects of oppression and expression. Each of them tells the story of America’s painful past in a way that informs today’s divisive climate while sparking necessary dialogue to create hope, change and action for the future.
“I think when you look at American history, you have to look at it holistically; and it’s ignorant to exclude any parts of that, whether it’s great things or not so great things that our country has had over the course of its formation,” Phillips said. “The ramifications and byproducts of those things systemically are motivating culture and different things today.”
The Page family originally presented the record-breaking TESTIFY exhibit in 2018 to great acclaim, with Page’s late wife, Diane, and daughter Georgi, the collection’s director. Their mission is to shine a light on the country’s history in a truth-telling manner so that everyone can better address the present racial divide. By bringing back the exhibit five years later, Page hopes to fulfill his late wife’s desire to reach a broader audience through expanded mainstage programming, such as the NFLPA film project and on-site storytelling workshops, and to create justice through action.
“Before reconciliation, there must be truth – and the truth can be ugly,” said Page, who is the namesake of the NFLPA’s highest player honor. “But we cannot reconcile and move forward if an increasingly louder group of people continue to deflect, minimize and sweep history under the rug.”
The TESTIFY exhibit is open to the public and will remain on display through March 29 at Cargill Gallery. For a complete list of events and to learn more, visit here.
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2030 NFL season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.
About the Diane and Alan Page Collection:
The Diane and Alan Page Collection is a selection of art and artifacts that paints a portrait of race relations and representation in the 19th through 21st centuries. Gathered by Diane and Alan Page over decades of civic engagement and very personal work in their community, the collection reflects their belief that even as we face the most painful aspects of our past so that they will not be repeated, we must also find bright moments of transcendence that point another way forward. Learn more at www.DAPCollection.com.