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African Diaspora

The Forgotten Root (La Raiz olvidada)

Details the history of Mexico's often-overlooked African populations. Drawing on interviews and archival imagery, the film takes us from the slavery of the colonial era to today's Afro-Mexican communities in Guerrero, Oaxaco, Campeche, Morelos and Veracruz. It argues that Mexico's famous mestizaje includes the important contibutions of African groups, as well as Spaniards and Indians. Directed by Rafael Rebollar. Presented at the International Latino Film Festival held in the San Francisco Bay Area. 1998. 49 min. ;

The Hand that Stirred the Pot: African Foods in America.

This program looks at the major influence African slaves exerted on western cooking and culture. Over 10 million slaves from many different tribes with different diets, were transported from Africa to the Americas, bringing with them their knowledge of how to grow and cook their traditional foods. They played a significant role in the formation of American cuisine, particularly in the Caribbean territories and the Southern States.

The Handsworth Songs

Interviewers: Handsworth and Aston Welfare Association, Asian Youth Movement (Birmingham), Sachkhand Nanak Dham, Mr. McClean, Soho Rd. Sikh Temple. Discusses race relations in England, especially Handsworth, Birmingham, England, where a riot erupted in September, 1984. Producer, Linda Gopaul ; director, John Akomfrah. c1986. 61 min. [preservation copy]

The House of Life (Ile aiye).

Explores the ways in which Candomble, the African spirit cult of the Bahia region of Brazil, has influenced the daily life and culture of the people of Brazil in their music, art, religion, theater, food, dance and poetry. The rhythms of the sacred drums and bells, a dance of spiritual ecstasy, offerings and sacrifices, divination and the visitation of the Orishas (deities) through trance are all part of the color and life of Candomble. Includes ritual music recorded during ceremonies. 1989. 51 min.

The Language You Cry In: The Story of a Mende Song . (Library of African Cinema.)

The film tells an amazing scholarly detective story reaching across hundreds of years and thousands of miles from 18th century Sierra Leone to the Gullah people of present-day Georgia. It recounts the even more remarkable saga of how African Americans retained links with their African past through a song, a burial hymn of the Mende people brought by slaves to the rice plantations of the Southeast coast more than two hundred years ago. In English and Mende with English subtitles. 53 min.

Twilight City.(1989)

At the end of the 1980s a young journalist receives a letter from her mother now living in Dominica asking her daughter to invite her back "home" to London, where she had previously lived for 35 years. Olivia, the daughter, an aspiring journalist completing a story on the "browning of London", examines the history and current conditions of race relations in the city as she responds to her parent's request. 52 min. [preservation copy]

Unearthing the Slave Trade.

On the eve of the American Revolution, New York City had the largest number of enslaved Africans of any colonial settlement outside Charleston. Though this has seldom been acknowledged, African labor was essential in the building of New York. Today, archeological excavation of sites on both sides of the Atlantic is bringing to light aspects of the slave trade long buried in the liberal minds of those north of the Mason-Dixon line. 28 min.

Voices of the Orishas

This is an ethnographic documentary which demonstrates the survival and strength of the Yoruba cultural and religious heritage in the contemporary life of Caribbean African-Hispanics. The program was filmed in Havana among practicioners of Santeria, and documents a ritual ceremony that features dancing, singing, praying and drum beating, invoking the twenty-two Orishas, or deities of the Yoruba religion. 1993. 37 min.

Related web sites: Description from Berkeley Media LLC catalog