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Black Female Filmmakers During 1920s-1970s


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I'm currently doing research on female filmmakers and actors of the African diaspora from 1920s-1970s. So far, I've covered Maria P. Williams, Tressie Sounders, Zora Neale Hurston, and Eloyce Gist. Does anyone have an leads or information on any Black women in and outside of America during this time period making films and creating behind the scenes? Is so, please let me know. Feel free to read the current posts I have focusing on the aforementioned directors and producers as well as actress Nina Mae McKinney from King Vidor's film Hallelujah in 1929.

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Hi TheCinephiliac,


I hope that it isn't too late to reply to your post.  I just noticed your post today.  Here are a few more for your list:



Eslanda Goode Robeson -- She was the wife of actor Paul Robeson.  In addition to being an actress and her husband's business manager, she was also an anthropologist (she had a Ph.D. in Anthropology).  She made ethnographic films in the 1940s. 


Alice B. Russell -- She was an actress and the wife of Oscar Micheaux, the pioneering filmmaker and director.  She produced 3 of her husband's films and did important behind-the-scenes work for his films. 


Madame Touissant Welcome -- She is usually considered to be the first black female filmmaker.  She directed a film about black soldiers who fought in World War I.  


Madeline Anderson -- She directed Integration Report One (1960), I Am Somebody (1970) and other films.  She is known for being the first black female executive producer for a nationally-aired TV series (The Infinity Factory). 


Madam C. J. Walker -- I'm not sure if this really counts, but she produced training and promotional films for her cosmetics company.  She is known for being America's first female self-made millionaire. 


Drusilla Dunjee Houston -- Determined to make a difference in the silent film industry, she wrote a screenplay called "Spirit of the South: The Maddened Mob".  It was one of the first responses to D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.  Unfortunately, it was never made into a movie.  (I know that this may not be what you're looking for, but I thought it was worth mentioning.)


Fredi Washington -- She was one of the first black actresses to gain recognition for her work on the stage and in films.  She made several films in the 1920s and 1930s.  She was the film casting consultant for the 1953 film Carmen Jones.  She was very outspoken about racial issues and she later became a civil rights activist.

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