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

[Baldwin, James] James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket.

Presents a look at the life and influence of author James Baldwin, at once a major twentieth century American author, a Civil Rights activist and, for two crucial decades, a prophetic voice calling Americans, Black and white, to confront their shared racial tragedy. Through interviews with writers and friends, this documentary captures the passionate intellect and courageous writing of a man who was born Black, impoverished, gifted and gay. 1990. 87 min.

Online Access through Kanopy Streaming.

[Baldwin, James] Patience and Shuffle the Cards: James Baldwin at U.C. Berkeley 1981

"A celebration of the ideas of James Baldwin, punctuated by original music and a ride through the city of Oakland during one of his visits. Also includes additional excerpts from his work read by Professor Erskine Peters, and an illuminating speech by Baldwin." 98 min.

[Baraka, Amiri] Straight, No Chaser

An interview with Amiri Baraka who discusses the cultural and political significance of African American music, rap, and motion pictures. He also addresses the activities of politician Jesse Jackson and motion picture producer Spike Lee. 1992. 60 min.
See Also:
Poetry readingsLiterary Biography & Criticism

[Bearden, Romare] 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.

[Bearden, Romare] Romare Bearden: Visual Jazz.

An intimate and personal look at the life and work of the bold, brilliant artist Romare Bearden who created collages and paintings of humanity in which he sought to "redefine the image of man" in terms of the African-American experience. Film includes rare footage of Bearden at work. 1995. 28 min.

[Butler, Octavia] 25 Years of Kindred

Renowned science fiction author Octavia Butler, in celebration of Black History Month 2004, presents a lecture discussing how racism, denial, myth-making, and racial stereotypes have influenced our understanding of our cultural heritage; how the past shapes present reality and how we can best use our historical memory to move forward. Program held in the University of California Doe Library, Morrison Room on February 17, 2004. 72 min. [preservation copy]

[Dash, Julie] The Cinematic Jazz of Julie Dash.

Afro-American filmmaker, producer, writer and director Julie Dash talks about her life and work and the difficulties she has had getting her films distributed and accepted. Interspersed with her comments are clips from three of her films, Daughters of the Dust, Illusions, and Diary of an African Nun, and she talks about the making of a fourth film, Four Women. One of her principal aims, she says, is "to redefine images of black women on the screen." Written and produced by Yvonne Welbon. 1992. 27 min.

[Ellison, Ralph] Ralph Ellison: An American Journey

This first documentary on one of the most gifted and intellectually provocative authors of modern American literature establishes Ralph Ellison as a central figure in contemporary debates over art, politics, race and nationhood. Also presented here are the first scenes ever filmed from Ellison's landmark novel, Invisible man. c2001. 87 min.
web web sites: Description from California Newsreel catalog

[Himes, Chester] Chester Himes: A Writer's Turbulent Journey.

A program on the life of novelist Chester Himes, who began writing detective novels in his fifties while he was in prison. In his works he created a violent and cynical picture of the African-American experience in the U.S. Here Himes speaks of his youth, the Harlem he knew so well before World War II, his early ventures into writing, his life as an expatriate in France and Spain, the art of fiction and the role of the African-American writer in America. [1999?] 30 min.