View a series of films examining everyday realities of Black lives, free of the distortions of the early film and media industries that still echo today. Guest curator Dr. Steffan A. Spencer, historian of Africa and its Diaspora, selected contemporary works from local filmmakers and from the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection. Together, they lyrically reveal ways Black life in America is a creative response to the daily struggles of simply existing—especially while facing the ever-present threat of displacement from one’s community and home. Spencer is an assistant professor of African History at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Sunday on the River
This short documentary that examines Black life and culture in 1960s New York. Director Gordon Hitchens founded the magazine Film Comment and believed strongly in film as a marker and influencer of social progress. Similarly, this work displays the complex and underrepresented lives of African Americans of the time, challenging the status quo of American cinema. Directed by Ken Resnick and Gordon Hitchens, 1961, 16mm transferred to digital, 30 min.
music from the edge of the allegheny plateau
Rappers and gospel singers, on the streets and in their homes—Kevin Jerome Everson’s film presents different generations from the African American communities of Mansfield, Ohio, sharing their passions, talents, and messages of faith and ambition through music and gesture. Directed by Kevin Jerome Everson, Walker Commission, 2018, 16mm transferred to digital, 7 min.
Rondo: Beyond the Pavement
This student-produced film chronicles the history of a once-thriving African American neighborhood torn apart by the Interstate 94 corridor. Archival footage and interviews with former residents of Rondo all help the viewer viscerally experience the loss and confusion caused by the construction project. The film was produced by Saint Paul Almanac, in partnership with St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and High School for Recording Arts (HSRA). Directed by Bianca Rhodes, 2018, digital, 33 min.
“In light of everything happening in the world and in our cities, we release this video to celebrate our communities and Black Joy” reads the head credit of E. G. Bailey’s new music video, featuring the soulful vocalist and percussionist Truthmaze. Filled with an irresistible beat and uplifting lyrics, I Love is a love poem to the Twin Cities “North Side, South Side, Saint Paul and Y’all.” Featuring singer Aimee K. Bryant, James W. Anton on bass guitar, Tommy Barberella on clavinet, and Brian Gallagher on flute. Directed by E. G. Bailey, 2020, digital, 8 min.