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African American Literature & the Arts

A Great Day in Harlem

Commentators: Art Kane, Robert Benton, Gerry Mulligan, Bud Freeman, Mike Lipskin, Nat Hentoff, Milt Hinton, Soville Browne, Eddie Locke, Horace Silver, Art Farmer, Robert Altschuler, Art Blakey, Mona Hinton, Steve Frankfurt, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Marian McPartland, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Max Kaminsky, Buck Clayton. A documentary about a photograph taken in 1958 by Art Kane of the jazz greats of the period. Includes home movie footage of that day of the musicians arriving and greeting each other the morning of the shoot.

Achievements in American Black History: Early Black Cinema.

Examines the beginnings of the American Black cinema which flourished between 1916 and the early 30's. 40 min.

Africa to America to Paris: The Migration of Black Writers.

Traces the path of African-American literature from the shores of the U.S. to the Left Bank of Paris at the end of World War II through the late 1960s. The program provides context by first exploring the New Orleans salon poetry of Desdunes and then discussing the historic suppression of black activists in the U.S. after the Harlem Renaissance. This program primarily traces the lives of James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Chester Himes who immigrated to Paris seeking greater intellectual freedom. Includes remembrances of fellow artists and readings from their diaries and works. 1997.

African Americans in Cinema: The First Half Century

Contains a rich body of primary and secondary source material, critical essays by prominent film scholars, biographies, film reviews and clips, tracing the history of African Americans in film and black films from 1894 to 1950. Includes an interactive searchable database that contains more than 3,300 movies emphasizing the contributions of African Americans to cinema.

Amos and Andy: Anatomy of a Controversy

Takes a fond look at the controversial radio and television show and attempts to determine if the series was a positive first step for Blacks into the world of entertainment or not and examines the events that led to the show's expulsion from the airwaves in 1966 after complaints from civil rights activists. Highlighted with rare clips of radio show creators Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, and hilarious clips from the Amos n' Andy TV series. Commentary by Alvin Childress, Ernestine Wade, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Redd Foxx, Marla Gibbs, and Henry Lee Moon. 1983. 60 min.

Art of Darkness.

The slaves of the Caribbean contributed not only to the wealth of their masters, but also to the cultural heritage of the British Empire. Documented through letters, paintings and poetry, the eighteenth century is shown to be both an age of high culture and of cruelty. Film shows how the art of the period romanticized the servitude of the plantation blacks as they were depicted as precious, exotic ornaments, even as they were being brutalized in real life. Director, David Maloney. 52 min.

Black Hollywood: The Way It Was (Library of Black History)

An extensive exploration of the "Hollywood treatment" given to blacks by the film moguls since the beginning of the film industry. Through interviews with film historians and generous film clips examines how and why stereotypes were created and used by the movie industry. It also explains the economics of the film business and probes the impact of racism, the Depression, and World War II on film production and distribution.

Black Picket Fence

Director Sergio Goes' hard-hitting documentary about Tislam Miller, a struggling rapper living in the public housing projects of Brooklyn's East New York, one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. Tiz is making impressive strides in his career, but remains tied to his old life, primarily through his drug-dealing best friend, Mel, who has just gotten out of prison. Tiz comes to real that escape may a goal beyond possibility. 2003. 93 min.

Black Shadows on a Silver Screen.

History of the motion picture made by Black filmmakers between 1900 and 1950, including scenes from these films. Emphasizes the attempt by Black filmmakers to provide alternatives to the lack of sensitivity and racism of Hollywood films by portraying Blacks realistically. 52 min.

Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement.

Pt.1. Pioneers (41 min.)--Pt.2. A theatre of our own (37 min.)--Pt.3. Black theatre and beyond (35 min.). Performers: Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Lonne Elder, Lloyd Richards, James Earl Jones, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Vinnette Carroll, Ed Bullins, Richard Wesley, Ntozake Shange. Produced & directed by Woodie King, Jr. 110 min.

Related web sites: Description from California Newsreel catalog