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Unknown Speaker 0:02
It’s my honor to welcome you all here this afternoon. To begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional ancestral, and unseeded lands of the Hashman and Tonga nation, who together have served as stewards of this territory for 1000s of years. And together with the many indigenous peoples who live in what we now call Southern California, continue to struggle for its sovereignty and preservation of its sacred places, which we amplify here today and stand in solidarity. The Department of film media studies with the support of illuminations and the help of our staff, Amy Fujitani, Sylvia Mesa, Giada, Nikki Norman, Dr. Trevor do Debbie Nielsen. We are so delighted to host Dr. Jacqueline Stewart superstar scholar curator honoree was so happy that you what a privilege whose talk today is titled sisters inside still a brother inside the Negro middle class 1968 Black women through the lens of William Greaves. As many of you know UC Irvine Film and Media Studies. We’ll be launching a new PhD program in the fall of 2023. And our focus is on issues of social justice and representation. I would be hard pressed to find another scholar and Supernova other than Dr. Stewart. Whose work both intellectually and in the museum embraces his mission. And so therefore, it is our honor to have her as our speaker today. Here to introduce Dr. Stewart is Dr. Phil Anna Payton, assistant professor who just joined us this fall and his work uniquely excavates and illuminates black film Black Hollywood and black women’s performance.
Unknown Speaker 2:02
Really excited about this talk and super honored and happy to introduce Dr. Stewart. One of the things I want to say is like not only is she a prolific scholar, but a generous kind scholar activist, so it’s so important in academia and I just feel so grateful to have met her and kind of get to learn from her today. So Jacqueline Stewart is the chief artistic and programming officer at the Academy museum motion pictures, where she oversees museums for floreo education, public engagement, don’t programming and publications. She is on the faculty of the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, where she founded the South Side home movie project. She is the author of migrating to the movies cinema and black lesbian, maternity and CO editor of La rebellion creating a new black cinema and William breed filmmaking admissions. He is the host of silent Sunday silent Sunday night on democratic movies. She is the recipient of the 2021 MacArthur Fellowship. Let’s welcome back.
Unknown Speaker 3:19
Robin Robbie, how’s everybody doing? Such a pleasure to be here. Thank you, Vicki, and I really want to thank the team for this really generous invitation. This is my first like in person talks as COVID broke out so really means a lot to me to be here. So I’m going to be talking about William Greaves and more specifically his film still a brother inside the world, middle class or 1968. This is a film that I discussed in an article that I contributed to this collection that I co edited with my dear colleague, Scott McDonald. This is the first comprehensive study of William Greaves who made over 100 films as a director, writer, a producer and actor and shockingly has not received the critical attention that he deserves. His masterful documentary skills is looking at race in America resonate incredibly powerfully today as I hope I can convey in talking about this 1968 film, still a brother inside the meat world middle class one of the things that jumped out to me about this film is that while it gives us a survey of black spokesmen of the race, only a few of them are women. There are six women who were interviewed in stone and described only a couple of them actually are identified. The more time I spent with this film, the more I realized that there’s actually a proliferation of black women in this film that show up in Williams Greaves is observational footage, like this woman and in the scene she appears at the beginning of the film. If you blinked you might miss this brown skinned woman perhaps in a very easily setting a golf course and the serene demeanor he has on this Dark Phoenix sweater and have dollar go back. Have dollar size golden earrings, long thin gold necklace, straight shoulder length, hair blows and the breeze capacitor lipstick catches the sunlight. And as you saw a group of white golfers and crossed in the distance behind her. The placement of her study medium close up between panning and zooming sets of the web command golfing imply that she’s watching them play. This early shot instead of going inside the middle class in many ways, encapsulates the film’s general approach to like women seen but not heard. Admired visually, but on the sidelines of the central topic. The film was written by William Blanche and the photograph Directed and Edited by William Greaves. It’s a 90 minute tour de force exploration of the external and internal pressures that the Negro middle class faces at a watershed moment in American political history. Using his extensive location shooting archival footage, a bit of drama cessation and interviews with more than two different subjects. Still, a brother demonstrates how persistent racism negates the negros increasing educational and professional advances that’s in there hopes for, quote, a truly egalitarian, multiracial America. At the same time, the middle class Negro struggle psychologically with the normative white middle class value system, particularly as that system is being challenged by rising black militancy and soul aesthetics among black youth and lower classes. As the film’s titled signals, still a brother explores what it means to be a negro Middle Class Subject, primarily from negro male perspectives in keeping with the prevailing norms of racial discourse, the Negro is consistently masculinized in the text of righteous script. In Ossie Davis, his voice is narrator and the preponderance of male interviewed the woman on the golf course and this woman of debutantes at a lavish cotillion are parts of an opening montage that reveal a negro middle class world largely invisible to the predominantly white audience for whom this film was commissioned by the National Education and television network, the precursor to PBS. So maybe read as an ornamental feature of a story about race and class. But our appearance also signals the host of subterranean stories about women that live inside of this inside look at Negro identities and transitioning across to the brother raises camera and editing. What is the issues about black women and the narration does not speak out of black women experience their class that is in relation to black men and white norms.
Unknown Speaker 8:16
In relation to other black women across social and economic scales, what shapes their political views and activities? How did they respond to the personal and political declaration that black is beautiful breeds brings to steal a brother some of the incisive cinema bears a strategies he developed during his training at the National Film Board Canada in the late 1950s. And early 1960s. leaves left the US to find opportunities in film that were not available to black people here, even to an artist of his extraordinary talents and experiences. Born in 1926, by the 1940s Greaves was a successful songwriter, a dancer performing with girl blindness, at Carnegie Hall, an actor in Broadway productions, a member of the Actor’s Studio from 1948 breathes up here to the last wave of black cast race movies, including miracle in Harlem and souls of sin in the late 40s. And in Hollywood problem pictures like last boundaries in 1949. He taught acting for many years and worked into his 80s becoming one of the most prolific documentary filmmakers of his era, and the most prolific African American documentary filmmaker of all time. Reese felt compelled to return to the US from Canada in the late 1960s, to use his skills as a filmmaker to contribute to the civil rights movement. He believed in the unique potential of documentary in particular for transforming how white Americans regarded African American life history and struggle, and for rehabilitating African Americans. own senses of identity and pride. We see this in his work as host and executive producer of the pioneering black public affairs program Black Journal, from 1968 to 1971. And we’ll see how we apply cinema Veritate techniques to to tell the truth about black folks and still a brother. Grease enters real life activities in progress at the golf course the cotillion, home of Bobby and Marlene Jones seeing here for example, and captures the action with a handheld camera mostly without directing or interfering in his observational footage, leads not only attempts to disappear, that Reeves is not simply trying to disappear entirely. Rather, he exhibits a participant observer shooting style. One that evokes the sense of the film is speaking in a collective and credible black voice. At a time when the Kerner Commission would observe in its 1968 report that there were so few black people working in film and television. It means something that grieves is holding the camera and listing the trust or at least the comfort of his black subjects in documenting this crucial moment in black American history, politics and culture. He combined his own presence and perspective behind the camera with the actions and commentaries of the people observed and interviewed. And with the script written by and narrated by fellow socially conscious black artists, William branch Davis as a gifted cameraman and editor committed to racial justice green sees an abundance of possibilities in each film situation, as he called it, and he’s deeply mindful of the strategies he uses to convey the black reality within those situations. committed to using film as a tool of racial education and black liberation. Read photographs of black people like at Howard University, in ways that were groundbreaking in their detailed appreciation of black daily activities. environments and styles of dress, speech and gesture. These are hallmarks of degrees long corrective, and they’re revolutionary and PicsArt women on screen. And yet, with the exception of his powerful documentary Ida B. Wells, a passion for justice from 1989, and his study of an interracial couple in Symbio, psycho taxi plasm take two and a half. And the sequel to this masterpiece. Greaves rarely presents black women at narrator’s at their own experiences or as analysts of the intersecting forces that shape their lives and perpetuate social inequities. And I’d say that it’s this tension that makes them a rather such a rich text for intersectional analysis, when we are attentive to the interlocking dynamics of gender, race and class in this film, we recognize the patriarchal patriarchal terms in which it’s prescient profile of the Negro is elaborated. We track the appearances of black women, how brief suits her edits them, and how they present themselves here hair clothes, that movements and facial expressions in new cases, how and what
Unknown Speaker 13:14
the experiences and perspectives of sisters insights to the brother are not simply minimize, rather, they are implicit. That is grief shoots and edits. They’re mostly brief in an identified appearances in ways that point us to the latent meanings that he and ranch did not, and maybe could not examine it directly. So the brother contains within his patriarchal frame a myriad of portraits that suggested distinct ways with black women and girls experience racism, sexism, and classic question how they occupy public and private spaces and how they are figured into thinking about black futures. wreaths and the front end branch behind them expanded the purview of Silla brothers substantially beyond the quote Ebony Magazine kind of film on middle class lifestyles that NTT executives anticipated, reached out the film in the summer of 1967 in the array of black context, streets, residences, offices and places of learning, leaving and recreation in New York, Chicago and Atlanta, and in the vacation spots of Martha’s Vineyard and Sag Harbor as a result, the film captures black women playing a striking variety of roles. We see them as wives, workers, ladies, activists, and intellectuals. We present some of the black women in ways that focus on them as sexual beings, and he includes shots of black girls. The debutantes, for example, women of the future. Still a brother does not explicitly explore the ways in which these roles are shaped by interlocking oppressions that constrain black women’s lives. There is no discussion of the particular forms of racism or economic precarity they experience as well, or the sexism they experience with blank. Eight these permissions grant read is a male dominated intellectual production framework that renders integration issues tangential at best. Moreover, the film air in late April 1968 Shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. as increasing civil unrest across the nation heighten the sense of racial crisis in ways that subsumed questions of gender oppressed within the black community in American society more broadly. While the film does not include gender and its political analysis, reads as culturally assume contextually persists for this camerawork and editing provide ample visual evidence of how deeply embedded black women are, in the stories of black class mobility and identity formation. Region brands mobilize the issues of black consciousness and those wishing to pack more into still a problem than they were initially authorized to include. We can today in turn, use a black feminist approach to unpack the film’s images of women to examine the multiple presidents that were left on address. render any efforts to our black liberation inequitable in a brown skinned woman in her 20s granted short natural or Afro hairstyle and vibrant print dress, county sales name the number of years staff the registration desk at a job opportunity center and a large hotel conference rooms surrounded by black candidates with a smile and pen enhancing reviews information on a piece of paper with a black male registering in a seat glasses, possibly directly into rooms where it’s job interviews will take place on Sunday with a picture still a brother a period proceed class mobility to be a marriage. Any others is like the waist lesson their entry into the middle class. One of the most striking features is the number of black women it depicts in white collar jobs. The woman working at the job fair sits alongside other women. We’re also working to facilitate the entrance of black women and men into the workforce. The dome includes a lengthy treatment of John H Johnson staffers at the Johnson publishing company in Chicago, the publishers of Ebony and Jet magazines among many others, where we see rooms filled with black women and typewriters and keep punching machines. The film focuses on the significant rise in usual salaries and describes ongoing disparities to white salaries. That the billionaire race and does not address the different kinds of work opportunities available to black men and women are Danny differentials in the incomes of black men and women, or any difference in the experiences of black men and women on the job.
Unknown Speaker 17:51
Writing about breaking into the television industry in the 60s, she was with Hopson describes the scope of women’s work in the corporate arena, quote, Tas forever what a thrill. Typing vaccine making coffee Delivery Girl office girl and sex pot all rolled into one in quote. Black women with college degrees were routinely deemed under qualified for even these menial and exploitative tasks. This generation of black women entering the white collar workforce are largely without the benefit of sympathetic supervisors, mentors, role models, making them especially vulnerable as they move into corporate and other professional settings. I’m sorry there’s no moving. Just love this footage of the Johnson headquarters and we’re told that the jobs are organizing by the organizer Richard Clark, you both have this capacity to create, quote instant middle class negros indicating the modest salaries and backgrounds of the candidates and places. But he observes that despite his successful placements, like middle class status is quote a very precarious thing for black people in economic terms, because it depends entirely on the continuity of the higher paying job rather than accumulated wealth. This precarity continues to characterize the black middle class today. There’s a particular edge to the moment when Carter post that his gathering of black people looking for gainful employment is the antithesis of the rioting and looting that white people associate with masses in the rows. While we see several conservatively dressed young black women job seekers, rather timidly enter the registration Hall. We recognize that many if not most of these women, though college graduates are likely at a small removed from the black masses in the streets pictured in news coverage of the ghetto. They have no safety net as they attempt to climb into the middle class via the corporate ladder. And as the camera follows a black male applicant into what is apparently a hotel room, where a prospective white employee employer greets him. Who must wonder if black women candidates at the job fair interviewed in the same setting. How would the black women seem milling about somewhat nervously in the registration area navigate the prospects of sexual harassment and assault? How do black women deal with such threats when they enter white and male dominated workspaces? What are the consequences if they don’t play the game? One of Britain’s most powerful legal cases of space between black middle class subjects walking into high wire and poor black folks struggling below is his transition from coverage of an evening of elegance. Here an exceedingly formal charity event where black and white couples sip champagne on a lot of lizards Sidney Poitier at West Chester escapes and the sash of tenements and streetlights in Harlem, where less fortunate brothers and sisters sit on streets and gather on street corners. Among these less fortunate brothers are less fortunate sisters, women and girls traversing the streets including an older woman greets captures as he apparently waits for traffic light to change. Roughly 25 seconds in length. This is one of the longest shots and reads this observational sequences. We can take in the mix of textures and clothing dark cardigan sweater half button over a butterfly print blouse and a pleated white skirt. Translucent below nice to see a trash receptacle behind her tattered advertising posters cover the side of the brick building and several black folks including unaccompanied girls, enter an exit shops. The camera zooms in to catch her rather fatigued expressionistic rubs her forehead and scratches a slightly disheveled hair. This woman’s inexpensive clothing and arms back rocking gate contrasts sharply with well dressed middle class black women you see earlier in the film, at least because they behave as if they know they’re being looked at. If not by greets camera than by the private or public audiences around. resumes in on Harlem woman’s face, her eyes and her surroundings you hear slightly fatigued, her gaze mainly focused on nothing in particular. This visual study of the Harlem woman evokes sympathy as simply an effort to inform the film’s viewers about black poverty. But more importantly, as part of the film’s consideration of how the black middle class has been, quote, negligent, as Ralph Featherstone from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee puts it in response to what he calls the struggles of the masses of black people in this country.
Unknown Speaker 22:48
We just camera looks at her to consider how and why the black middle class has failed to really look at her in the past and to consider what would happen if they studied her face and condition now, the film details how a quote mental revolution is taking place among some members of the black middle class, and reads uses this column footage and especially the sound of this woman to illustrate this coming racial consciousness reads brings back a rather snobby male commentator who opens the film for a longer interview to articulate the shift. The image of this Harlem woman accompanies that oh, sorry. Let me go back to you remember her face. The image of the Harlem woman accompanies this rather snooty guys closing observation, quote. Now I’m thinking as a Negro and I think more people in my group are thinking as negros. We must imagine that the Harlem woman has always thought of herself as a negro living in the conditions of poverty and segregation that this middle class spokesman was unaware of his middle class upbringing in another part of the same city. We can’t know what he was thinking at the moment group of threes photographs there, but the duration of his shot and the zoom into their face caps or her thinking something. This calls to mind images of black women and acts of contemplation that we find in later like independent films, notably those made by the group dubbed the LA rebellion such as highly blameless push them online for 1975. Billy Woodberry, bless their little hearts pour into the masses data from the depths 1991 reads is not just render the ghetto people and the conditions in which they live but also attempts to register what they navigate psychologically. He here grieves displays a masterful use of double voice making a case to the black viewers inside of the predominantly white national educational television audience. He uses the finger of an older poor black woman in Harlem to serve as a potential bridge across the class divide that can enable black middle class people to feel not simply guilt, but a shared consciousness and by extension, a shared destiny
Unknown Speaker 25:06
i suppose every Negro some guy in his life has been ashamed of being an equal. The point is, how long does it last? Can you over comment? Does the glass momentary, such as a shame? Shame the padding exhibited poor manners or a nasty temper, or is does it become a morbid thing with which he lives? I think the thing that makes the neurotic or the psychotic if he can’t overcome the feelings of shame if he can substitute for these unwelcome feeling shame feelings of pride or accept
Unknown Speaker 25:49
of the 29 interviewing speeches, celebra other six are women and two of these identified by name. Kathy Aldridge, women’s editor of the New York black newspaper, the Amsterdam News and Melissa F. Jordan, a faculty member at Spelman College. The other four women are interviewed in pairs. All of the men are interviewed individually and speak as unidentified titles to elite ladies on the couch, and to beauticians I’ll talk about later. The term distinguishes Kathy Aldridge and Mrs. Millicent Jordan from these unidentified women, by tapping into expertise beyond their personal experiences, always describes the existence of a negro society. And here Jordan discusses the causes and impact of low black self esteem while other interviewees in the film impressive roster of spokesman including learned features like sociologist Sinclair, great hair minister and scholar, and chemists Percy Julian, they sometimes describe personal experiences, but these are shared in the service of our insights and analyses that they articulate this is one of the most significant aspects of so rather, it’s a demonstration of a wide range of expertise that exists within the race, men and a couple of women who can speak with authority and eloquence about race matters. Even the spokesman who speak most animatedly like fire Rusten, Nathan, right, and the fiery pan Africanist bookstore owner to the more who gets really loud, demonstrate keen insights into like social, political and psychological issues, such that they’re deeply personal stake in these questions does not invalidate their status as analysts. Clearly a skilled orator, Mildred, Jordan speaks with a precise and modulated passion. One of the ways Doherty displays her analytical skills is in her use of masculine pronouns when describing the low self esteem of black people. is heard. I suppose every Negro sometime in his life has been ashamed of being a negro Jordans exclusive use of key and his and her interview reflects conventions of speaking about the people as a whole, but it also has the effect of deep personalizing the dynamics he is describing, and doing so to a greater degree than many of the spokesman in the film. She appears this after Julian Bond then a Georgia State Representative, as he describes an experience from his high school days of feeling shame about his race, and then extrapolates it to consider how affirming participation in the movement is relevant to others. He says I don’t think I think people who don’t have that struggle, that participation and struggle, have more difficulty overcoming that scene and that fear that living in America I think, forces in contrast with military Jordan, excuse me, Millicent Jordan wonders about the Negro struggling with Sunni asking, can he overcome it? For language of inquiry as a scholar? Distances are observations from the center she speaks from
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Unknown Speaker 0:00
Thinking, respond to her vulnerable state as an intellectual in a society that will underestimate your expertise and capacity for objective reasoning, not just as a negro, but as a grown woman. She’s adhering to scholarly norms that held even for a black woman scholar teaching at Spelman College, a historically black college for women. Even in black academic contexts, women scholars like Jordan would be under some pressure to demonstrate their ability to speak beyond the realms of the personal and the emotional areas that black feminism and women’s studies would soon mind in their transformative work within the academy. Jordan speaks in a moment when rising student protests will certainly lead to the establishment of Black Studies and Women’s Studies programs on college campuses. Black women found themselves torn between and marginalized within both of these fields. Women’s Studies excluded women of color, and as Jordans own language suggests, black studies of marginalized women group suits but it’s at Howard and Columbia universities, where we hear the concerns that fueled the Black Studies movement and see its gender dynamics. And Howard we see a group of male students listening to young professor Nathan hare, whom we are told was recently fired from Howard because of his militancy, as he castigated the university for being complicit in unequal and unequal educational system. That underfunded black colleges while giving huge grants to white universities to do as he puts it, research on the Negro. He jokes that they’ve been studying the wrong man, who we might ask is studying the negro woman in many ways, so the brother exemplifies the logics of black studies as that Bo was being founded sublimating gender in the study of race. They might also ask what are black women studying? We see black women in regions campus shots, you saw this earlier, but because he shoots exteriors, we primarily see students recreating the film’s representation of Howard at homecoming game here. Focus on how this story Negro middle class institution has been transformed by the blackest beautiful ethos, in place of this long practice strict pseudo Victorian elitism and colorism we see that Howard in the late 1960s is pulsating with black pride. brown skinned cheerleaders high step at homecoming game fraternities dance with abandons the beat of African drums, some women’s students sport natural hairstyles. It seems like Columbia University are mellower is the gathering of black women and men on the campus meeting at the Afro American society. Later a few white students during their conversation. One black woman holds a publication featuring portraits of WB Dubois and Malcolm X. A black male student from each campus talks about their frustrations with the conservatism of their respective institutions. Howard’s leadership fears losing weight funding of the school appears to militant Columbia refuses to address racial biases in its curriculum. These male students serve as the film’s primary representatives of the next generation of black intellectuals. Those who agitate for institutional reform is representations of both black and white college environments. Silla brothers shows black men as the primary agents and subjects of what was being formalized as Black Studies. Historically, black women’s scholarly pursuits in activism have been framed, not only by expectations to focus on race and gender, but also the ways in which the intelligence of black women has been stigmatized. The combined river collective or black feminists wrote in their landmark 1977 statements that quote, we discovered all of us that because we were smart, we also consider ID smart, smart, ugly, crystallized the ways in which most of us have been forced to develop our intellects. at great cost to our social lives. The women read suits and Howard and Columbia are navigating both the academic and the social dimensions of campus life. And in doing so, they face a web of challenges that black men do not share, including the sexist judgments of male faculty and students white and black, inside and outside of the classroom. men dominate the settings in which black intellectual exchange takes place across the film. In a scene showing the kind of serious debate that is commonplace among Negro black gatherings to be middle middle class gatherings today, a woman struggles to get a word in edgewise as brick and mortar shops the support for black militants and their revolt for manhood.
Unknown Speaker 4:59
With background and all over now
Unknown Speaker 5:04
I am not advocating violence, but I am condemning Brown, Brown.
Unknown Speaker 5:15
On the other hand, at a meeting of the motion white, excuse me, the mostly male board of the DiSalvo Museum of African American History in Chicago, you seen founder Margaret Burroughs, sternly pressures members of the group to come up with needed font. We’ll expand on that.
Unknown Speaker 5:32
And the reason we have to figure it out here now, some other means of getting to 50,000 ballots. In fact, we should not leave this meeting unless we see that’s 50,000 hours you know, even if there are various people that go there,
Unknown Speaker 5:47
just the term negro.
Unknown Speaker 5:50
A little bit misinforming that comes up behind her is that the borough speaks greens brings up the non diegetic sound of African drumming, emphasizing the work that burrows and colleagues are performing as keepers of the flame black cultural heritage. Both Margaret Burroughs and those that Jordan from Spelman are surrounded by their collections of black art and African art more specifically, these objects really resonated with Greece with a longtime student of African history and cultures and believed like Burroughs and during that black people United States suffered greatly from our forced alienation from our African heritage. When he brings up the drums behind burles words greens recognize that with resumes proud African consciousness, the world and the rest of the disability and more not named are interview reads, and captures here a powerful performative moment in which Burroughs in the company of most men break from expectations of female subservience, bringing the intensity of her Afrocentric intellect, in this exchange to burrows in front of the camera and reach behind it in an editing room. We get the film strongest intimation of how black women grapple with the predicament described in explicit terms by the Combahee River collective. A decade later, we struggled together with black man against racism, while we also struggle with writing about sexism. A key feature of the film’s discussion of the mental revolution taking place among some members of the black middle class is a discussion of self image and beauty standards. We hear from several interviewees, including those of Jordan, psychiatrist J. Dennis Jackson, and via Rushton about the denigration of black skin and kinky hair, leading to gene
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