WHEN AFRICAN AMERICANS CAME TO PARIS – FULL SERIES
This exceptional two-part series of short videos by award-winning documentarian Joanne Burke brings to life the pioneering years of the African American presence in Paris. Each video reveals how France, and Paris in particular, became their bridge from a racially segregated USA to great achievement in the wider world.
- W.E.B. DUBOIS and the 1900 Paris Exposition: His prize-winning photographic exhibit defied the existing view of African- American life and prosperity only 35 years after Emancipation.
- HENRY OSSAWA TANNER: An Artist in Exile: The first African American artist to make it big on the international scene.
- THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS: The much-decorated WWI African American soldiers who served under French Army command.
- JAMES REESE EUROPE: Warrior and Musician: The combat lieutenant and bandleader whose rollicking music fired France’s lifelong love affair with jazz.
- JAZZ COMES TO PARIS: The explosion of jazz after WWI and the making of the Harlem of Montmartre.
- THREE WOMEN ARTISTS IN PARIS: The challenging but fruitful experience of sculptors Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and Augusta Savage and painter Lois Mailou Jones.
- JOSEPHINE BAKER: A MOST EXTRAORDINARY LIFE. The ‘Black Venus’ made much of her opportunities. She headlined major music halls, starred in movies, produced records and Josephine-related products, to tremendous financial success and all controlled by her. During WWII, she also played an important role in the Free French Résistance movement and became a decorated war hero.
- SIDNEY BECHET: THE WIZARD OF JAZZ. A towering figure in the history of jazz, Sidney Bechet stands on a level with Louis Armstrong. In France, his career survived early controversy and he went on to be loved by critics and fans and appreciated as a mentor to upcoming musicians. A golden decade in France locked down his musical legacy.
- BLACK WRITERS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC. In the 1920s and 30s, Paris provided a breather from racism for Harlem Renaissance writers, male and female. Here Langston Hughes, Alain Locke, Claude McKay learned what it meant to be Black globally when they met with influential Afro-French intellectuals for stimulating Diasporic exchanges on racism, colonialism, and the budding Negritude movement.
Each story is filled with rare and astounding archival images. Insightful narration by Joanne Burke binds each stand-alone piece with great storytelling.
Part One is put into perspective thanks to riveting comments by experts in their field -Tyler Stovall, University of California Berkeley; Theresa Leininger-Miller, University of Cincinnati; Marcus Bruce, Bates College; Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University; Terri Francis, Yale University; Barbara Chase-Riboud, artist and author; Richard Powell, Duke University; and Robert O’Meally, Columbia University.
The illustrious specialists appearing in Part Two are: Richard Powell, Tyler Stovall, Terri Francis, and Bennetta Jules-Rosette for Josephine Baker; Rashida Braggs, Sebastien Vidal, Archie Shepp, and Robert O’Meally for Sidney Bechet; Brent Hayes Edwards, Jennifer Wilks, Mamadou Diouf, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Jake Lamar, and Tyler Stovall for Langston Hughes and the writers.
No other film series assembles this early, vital period of the African American experience abroad into one unit. Archives around the world were scoured to unearth the wealth of rare images. The short length of each piece makes it ideal for integrating into a wide range of course curriculum: history, education, African American studies, French Studies American Studies and Literary Studies. They are accessible for all ages, and an enjoyable, educational document that highlights some of the proudest moments of Black heritage.
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