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Northeast Texas Gets Exclusive Preview of Documentary about Center Point’s Barbara Smith Conrad, Opera Singer Who Overcame Discrimination

Barbara Conrad at the Texas State Capitol

Barbara Conrad performs in the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol, 2009.

Related Sites:
When I Rise Official Site
When I Rise Project Site

AUSTIN, Texas–"When I Rise," a new documentary film about Center Point’s own Barbara Smith Conrad will be presented free of charge to the northeast Texas community, Friday, June 18, 2010. The film screening will occur at 6:30 p.m. at the James and Elizabeth Whatley Center for Performing Arts at Northeast Texas Community College in Mt. Pleasant.

"When I Rise" is the powerful story of Conrad, a gifted University of Texas music student who became a target of racial discrimination in the late 1950s and ultimately ascended to the heights of international opera. Produced by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin, "When I Rise" is an Alpheus Media Production, in association with Allentown Productions. The film was directed by award-winning Austin filmmaker Mat Hames. Producers include Academy Award-winner James Moll and award-winning filmmaker Michael Rosen.

Conrad, who now resides in New York, will attend the film screening. Texas House of Representative Bryan Hughes, District 5, who represents Camp, Harrison, Upshur, and Wood Counties, will be present to greet Conrad and introduce the film. Seating at the June 18 screening is free of charge and available on a first-come, first served-basis.

"As her state Representative, I’m honored to help welcome Barbara back to her home state," said Hughes. "Her story is an important part of the history of human rights, and her faith and dignity throughout her ordeal are truly inspirational."

"When I Rise" is an official selection of the 2010 Dallas International Film Festival, the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto, the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, and the New York City International Film Festival.

"We’ve only shown the film to a few audiences so far, and we’re very pleased that the people of northeast Texas, where the story originated, will be among the first to view it," said Dr. Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center and executive producer of "When I Rise."

The film was made possible in part by AT&T. Ms. Conrad’s appearance at the Whatley Center is made possible by support from Southwestern Electric Power Company. The Whatley Center theater is provided by Northeast Texas Community College.

Press information, including an electronic press kit and downloadable images, is available at

For more information about "When I Rise" contact Erin Purdy at the Briscoe Center for American History, 512-495-4692, or, or visit (