Filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick: "Tracing the January 1969 Belfast-Derry Civil Rights March and its US Antecedent"


Location: Room 1050 Jenkins Nanovic Halls


Visiting Fellow and filmmaker Maurice Fitzpatrick will speak on the 1969 Belfast-Derry Civil Rights March and its origins in the US civil rights movement. This is an area he is researching while at Notre Dame and the subject of his newest film, Burntollet, now in development.

In that film, Mr. Fitzpatrick will illuminate just how inspirational the United States civil rights movement was in Northern Ireland—for example, the marchers precisely imitated the 1965 Selma March. He also will portray the moral dilemmas and political decisions the Belfast-Derry marchers faced. These include: Were the reforms in response to the Civil Rights Movement a ruse or the basis for a gradualist approach to change? How to reconcile the divergent voices and objectives of the marchers? How did the political color of the waystations of the March make those competing tendencies manifest? What security measures could be taken to protect the marchers in the face of an evidently corrupt police force and political administration? How to frame the objectives of the march amid the propaganda war being waged against it? And, perhaps most critically, how do well-meaning people agree and disagree about  the limits of civil disobedience?

Mr. Fitzpatrick wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America, 2017 (screened at Notre Dame in 2018), which follows the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume as he worked tirelessly over decades to rally the support of one American president after another to back the peace process in Ireland. Hume was a key agent in the transformation of Northern Ireland—one which valued inclusive peace. Mr. Fitzpatrick's accompanying book, John Hume in America: From Derry to DC, was published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 2019.

Moderator: Chanté Mouton Kinyon, Assistant Professor of English

Co-sponsor: Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights