UC Berkeley Library

African American History to 1900 Slavery The Civil War and Reconstruction

Family Across the Sea.

Film examines how scholars have uncovered the remarkable connections between the Gullah people of South Carolina and the people of Sierra Leone and how the Gullahs incorporated many aspects of African culture including the language into the daily life of the plantations. Film concludes with a delegation of Gullah people traveling from the United States to Sierra Leone to trace the roots of their heritage. 56 min. CINE Film & Video Awards 1991 (Golden Eagle). American Film & Video Festival 1992 (Blue Ribbon).

Family Name.

A film by Macky Alston. As a child growing up in Durham, North Carolina, Macky Alston never questioned why all the other Alstons in his school were black. Now, after twenty-five years, he has gone back to unravel the mystery. In this documentary of race relations, Alston travels to family reunions, picnics, housing projects, churches, graveyards & the original Alston plantations to find people who share his family name. 1997. 89 min. See separate bibliography of reviews and articles about this film

Flight to Freedom.

Between 1790 and 1860, thousands of slaves fled the South for liberation on the "Underground Railroad". In addition to examining archival photographs, records and artifacts and interviews with national experts and descendants of slaves, conductors, and abolitionists, this program includes examples of spirituals sung by slaves as part of the "code" system, and visits homes which were used as shelters. The program highlights Rochester, New York, which was at the heart of the railroad, where passengers were hidden by Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman and others. 120 min.

Fort Mose: A New Chapter in American History.

Tells the story of the first legally sanctioned settlement for free Africans in America, providing important evidence that African-American colonial history extended far beyond slavery and oppression. This program traces the kidnapping of Africans, their sale as slaves in the "New World" and their escape to Spanish Florida and freedom. 16 min. 1992.

Four Hundred Years Without a Comb.

A documentary/drama in African American history and tradition as told through various combs. Beauty is a big part of Africa and its people around the globe. The advent of slavery and the lack of combs and the ability to groom caused a social, individual, health, and spiritual death for the slaves giving rise to inferiority attitudes regarding hair, skin, nose and lips still present in African-Americans of today. In this film the emphasis is on the hairdressing of African-American women as a manifestation of this "inferior seed". Based on a book of the same title by Willie L.

Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History.

Archival materials and autobiographical writings are used to present the life story of Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave whose freedom was bought by supporters he met on a speaking tour in England, who became a journalist, publisher, diplomat and a passionate leader in the early fight for civil rights. Producer/director, Orlando Bagwell ; executive producer, Tamara E. Robinson ; narration written by Steve Fayer. 90 min. [preservation copy]

Freedom!

A documentary series chronicling the epic journey of America's commitment to liberty and the idea of freedom. Based on the book series A History of US by Joy Hakim. c2003. 52 min. each installment Episode 5: The Declaration of Independence declares, "All men are created equal," but there is a glaring exception -- America's slaves. Episode 6: The most terrible war in America's history is fought over the future of slavery in our nation. Looks at the issue of slavery, the abolition movement and the Civil War. Episode 7: After the Civil War political turmoil takes place in Washington D.C.

From Fields of Promise

A historical documentary of the African-American farmers of Gee's Bend, Alabama. First as slaves, then as "freed men," and finally as landowners, the Black farmers of Gee's Bend and their descendants have lived on and farmed the same land since 1845. They have experienced the demise of slavery, struggled with Jim Crow, were felled by the Great Depression, were enfranchised by a "social experiment," and participated at the center of the Civil Rights movement.

From Florida to Coahuila: The History of the Black Seminoles. (De Florida a Coahuila: la Historia de los Mascogos)

Tells the story of the Mascogos, known in the United States as the Black Seminoles, descendants of runaway slaves who made common cause with Seminole Indians. After a long migration they came to the northern state of Coahuila, Mexico in 1850 escaping from the harsh living conditions of the North. Here they negotiated with the government to defend the border in exchange for tracts of land and citizenship. 2002. 50 min.

From Slavery to Freedom

Through an overview of slavery throughout the ages, tells the story of "the world's unfinished journey from slavery to freedom." Features archival film footage with commentary by authors, academics and historians. Produced and written by Mark Page. Supplementary feature accompanying: Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. 31 min.

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