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Local filmmaker discusses career, civil rights

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BATON ROUGE - Keith Beauchamp is back home in Baton Rouge, at Southern University to talk to students about following their dreams, and fighting racism.

"All these issues are relevant today, and my films encompass the whole spector of the civil rights era, past and current," said Beauchamp, who now produces and hosts "The Injustice Files" on the Discovery Channel.

His first documentary was about Emmett Till, the young man who was brutally murdered in Mississippi after talking to a white woman.

Thirty-four years after Till's death, Beauchamp said he was threatened for dancing with a white friend.

"After that experience, I wanted to turn that negative into a positive, and I felt the only way I could change injustice and racism in the country today is to become a part of the system," Beauchamp said.

He abandoned his criminal justice studies at Southern in favor of filmmaking, and his first documentary, "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till," prompted the Department of Justice to reopen the case in 2004.

Though no new charges were filed, Beauchamp says his work is proof that anyone with a passion and a camera can have an impact.

"No more do we have to rely on our leadership to speak out about atrocities in our community," Beauchamp said. "Or wait for the leader to come up and speak about issues, we can do it ourselves."



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