UC Berkeley Library

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Using the Library during COVID-19

Many of our services are now being offered in new ways. To find the latest information on course reserves, book returns, 24/7 online help, and more, visit our Library services and resources during COVID-19 page. The information on that page supersedes all other information on the Library website at this time.

African American Literature & the Arts

Color: A Sampling of Contemporary African American Writers.

San Francisco, CA : The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives, SFSU, 1994. Amiri Baraka, George Barlow, Conyus Calhoun, Xam Wilson Cartier, Barbara Christian, Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, David Henderson, June Jordan, Etheridge Knight, Yusef Komunyakaa, Clarence Major, Colleen J. Mcelroy, Harryette Mullen, Ishmael Reed, Mona Lisa Saloy, Sonia Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, Luisah Teish, Lorenzo Thomas, Alice Walker, Al Young. 57 min.


Drawing on Caribbean folklore, this exuberant experimental drama uses animation and live action to discover a film language unique to African American women. The multilayered soundtrack combines a chorus of women's voices, with the music of Africa and the diaspora--including Miriam Makeba, acappella singers from Haiti, and trumpetiste Clora Bryant. c1989. 17 min.

Related web sites: Description from Women Make Movies catalog

Dance on the Wind: Memoirs of a Mississippi Shaman

Performer, street and stage dancer Eno Washington tells and dances the story of how he discovered the West African roots of African-American dance. Included are details of how he learned to dance, the black dance traditions with which he grew up, his visits to West Africa and the connections he subsequently made among dances whose movements reappear under different names with each generation. Features many performances, current and historical. Produced by Marty Frame, Ivor Miller. Dist. Cinema Guild. 1992. 27 min.

Dancing the Big Apple

It's 1937, and the nation is struggling to recover from the Great Depression, complicated by a new recession. Three white teenagers enter an African-American nightclub called the Big Apple in Columbia, South Carolina. They see a strange circle dance performed to popular swing music.... So begins an exciting encounter of cultural traditions the builds to a massive dance craze involving Americans from every walk of life - including the FDR family in the White House.

Didn't We Ramble On.

Film examines how West African people have passed down their rites and spiritual fervor, generation by generation, through the black marching band. As long as 700 years ago, the Yaruba's had musicalprocessions at funerals. By the 17th century, African musicians were seen in Turkish marching bands and admired and copied by the monarchs of Europe. During both World Wars black military bands played a major role in maintaining troop morale. In the U.S. today, the tradition of the black marching band continues on the football fields as exemplified by the Forida A&M Marching Band.

Dignity of Man and Origins of African-American Theatre.

A brief history of Black American performers. Includes excerpts from "Colored People's Time." 15 min.

Ethnic Notions.

Written and directed by Marlon Riggs. Covering more than one hundred years of United States history, traces the evolution of Black American caricatures and stereotypes that have fueled anti-Black prejudice. Loyal Toms, carefree Sambos, faithful Mammies, grinning Coons, savage Brutes and wide-eyed Pickaninnies roll across the screen in cartoons, feature films, popular songs, advertisements, household artifacts, even children's rhymes. These caricatures permeated popular culture from the 1820s to the Civil Rights era and implanted themselves within the American psyche. 1986. 57 min.

Furious Flower: Conversations with African American Poets.

A four part video anthology of African American poetry from the 1940s to 1995 offering intimate portraits of leading poets reading and discussing their own works. Originally presented at the Furious Flower Conference held September 29-October 1, 1994 at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Volume 1, Elders: Part 1 introduces poets who laid the groundwork for today's Black poetry renaissance and mentored many of the younger voices represented in this series.

Griots of Imagery: A Comment on the Art of Romare Bearden and Charles White

A presentation on the art of two Afro-American artists who are true African keepers of history and culture or "griots", based on the 1993 exhibition of Romare Bearden and Charles White. Bearden's art is based on his reflections concerning what he called "the prevalence of ritual" in African-American life. White's art reflects his concern with the struggle of Black Americans to transcend the vissicitudes of American life. 28 min.

Hip-hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

A look at the conceptualization of masculinity in hip-hop culture. Pays tribute to hip-hop while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for too often perpetuating destructive, deeply conservative styles of manhood that glamorize sexism, violence, and homophobia. Includes interviews with prominent rappers, music industry executives, and social critics. Produced, directed and written by Byron Hurt Dist.: Media Education Foundation. 2006. 61 min.