William Greaves was a pioneer filmmaker whose works include Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice and Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey. He launched the groundbreaking public television program "Black Journal" in the late 1960s. Perhaps less well known was that he also began an acting career in the late 1940s but decided that being behind the camera would offer more power in changing the images of Black people in media.
AVAILABLE NOW! This award-winning and timely documentary boldly examines the challenging issues facing African American communities and gay civil rights with a particular focus on the role of faith institutions. While respectfully presenting the activism on differing sides, it makes a compelling case that the fight for LGBT rights in Black communities is an extension of the Black Freedom Struggle. Watch for the June national broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens series. Here is the recent TED Talk and interview by director Yoruba Richen describing why she made the documentary.
Strange Fruit is the first documentary on the anti-lynching protest song famously sung by Billie Holiday. Recent racialized extra-judicial killings and the brutalization of African Americans by white civilians seem eerily reminiscent of the situations addressed in this haunting film.
The luminaries of contemporary African American letters - poets, novelists, critics and actors - gathered in October, 2012 to pay tribute to Toni Morrison, read from her writings and share what it has meant to their lives and work.
All of the works by pioneering filmmaker Marlon Riggs are now available for digital licensing. We have created a Marlon Riggs Critical Resource page featuring articles, guides, transcripts and media. We are streaming for free the 58 minute personal and artistic biography of Marlon Riggs, I Shall Not Be Removed by filmmaker Karen Everett. Riggs became the youngest ever tenured professor at the University of California-Berkeley School of Journalism while making his landmark work, Tongues Untied.The school is now raising funds for documentary fellowships in his honor to match a $100,000 gift from Signifyin’ Works, the non-profit organization which Riggs founded.
Launched in 1981, with 8 film from 5 different countries, The Library of African Cinema has now more than 50 films from 25 countries including classic feature films by internationally renowned masters filmmakers like Ousmane Sembene (Faat Kine), Djibril Diop Mambety (Tales of Ordinary People and Gaston Kaboré (Wend Kuuni and Zan Boko)
Anne Braden: Southern Patriot provides an in-depth portrait of the legendary Southern organizer and journalist whose life long activism exemplified what progressive white people can do to fight racism. She was labeled a “race traitor” by white supremacists and praised by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Through the portrait of Harlem undertaker, Isaiah Owens as well as the community he serves, Homegoings examines the unique funeral traditions amongst African Americans. Christine Turner’s celebrated and moving documentary premiered on February 28 in the Museum of Modern Art’s prestigious Documentary Fortnight series and had its national PBS broadcast premiere on June 24 in the P.O.V. series. Please check local listings for rebroadcast information.
The Manuscripts of Timbuktu introduces viewers to the thriving economic and cultural world of Timbuktu, which flourished from the 11th to the 18th centuries and influenced much of the world. The remaining artifacts there are severely endangered by threats from Islamic fundamentalists who have captured the city.
White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books examines 40 years of changing portrayals of Black masculinity in a significant area of popular culture - action comic books. This genre's reach extended into films and animated TV series and continues to influence contemporary representations. One of the superheroes profiled in the documentary is The Falcon who is featured in the blockbuster movie Captain America: Winter Soldier.