The Library of Congress >> Researchers
American Women Symposium



June 2003
Pickford Theater, 3rd Floor
James Madison Memorial Building

In conjunction with the "Resourceful Women" symposium, the Library sponsored a free "Tribute to Women's History" film series during the month of June 2003. This film series showcased the work of some of the conference speakers, highlighted the themes of the symposium, and featured women directors and producers whose works are in the Library's collections. Dates and descriptions of the films shown appear below.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003
This evening examined women's pioneering roles in the fields of nursing and public health, as well as attitudes about race and gender and changes within the profession of nursing. Forgotten Frontier highlights the work of nurse-midwives who traveled by horseback to deliver babies and care for the ill in rural Kentucky on the eve of the Depression. The documentary All My Babies, which intimately profiles African American midwives in Georgia and their service to their clients, was recently added to the National Film Registry. Diahann Carroll's starring role in the television series Julia was a pathbreaking one within the entertainment industry.

Forgotten Frontier (Frontier Nursing Service, 1931). Directed by Marvin Breckinridge.
All My Babies (Georgia Department of Health, 1953). Directed by George Stoney.
Julia (20th Century-Fox TV, 1968). Starring Diahann Carroll, with Lloyd Nolan, Marc Copage.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003
In the first decades of the twentieth century, thousands of black women migrated North seeking wage-work and greater independence. Many found employment as household workers (as seen in Elizabeth Clark-Lewis's documentary Freedom Bags); others in the beauty industry. They had before them the true-life rags-to-riches story of Mme. C.J. Walker, the beauty culture entrepreneur who parlayed her marketing wits and gumption into a million-dollar business and became the toast of Harlem, and whose life is celebrated in Two Dollars and a Dream. Dreams of a different sort were manifested in the work of journalist and lecturer Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who electrified the nation by confronting Jim-Crow racism through her anti-lynching campaign, and by the women and men of Passaic, N.J., many of them immigrants, who went out on strike to protest working conditions in the textile industry. Excerpts from two documentaries examine those legacies.

Freedom Bags. Produced by Elizabeth Clark-Lewis (1990). Directed by Stanley Nelson.
Two Dollars and a Dream: The Story of Madame C.J. Walker (1988). Directed by Stanley Nelson.
Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice (William Greaves, 1989)
Girls Winding Armatures (AM&B, 1904)
Passaic Textile Strike (International Workers Aid, 1926)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003
On the eve of the "Resourceful Women" symposium, the Pickford Theater honored the history of women directors with a special showing of Lois Weber's recently restored film from the Silent Era, The Blot--a drama of class distinction. Weber (1892-1939) was Universal Studio's highest-paid director in 1916. The film was accompanied for the Pickford audience by pianist Ray Brubacher.

The Blot (Lois Weber Productions, 1921). Directed by Lois Weber. With Philip Hubbard, Claire Windsor, Louis Calhern.

Friday, June 20, 2003
Capping the symposium events was an evening devoted to the changing visions of beauty and womanhood in America, as exemplified in the Black is Beautiful cultural movement and the complicated history of the Miss America pageant. Director Lisa Ades introduced her film.

For You...Black Woman (TWG, 1976).
Miss America (Orchard Films, 2002). Directed by Lisa Ades.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003
The "Tribute to Women's History" film series ended with the classic independent film Salt of the Earth. Produced by people on Hollywood's blacklist, this drama is based on an actual miners' strike in New Mexico. A close portrayal of relations in an industrial working community and of union organizing, it makes a strong feminist statement as well, for it is the wives of the striking miners who ultimately spearhead the successful collective action.

Salt of the Earth (International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, 1954). Directed by Herbert J. Biberman. With Will Geer, Rosaura Revueltas, Juan Chacón, David Wolfe.

Also of note in June, as part of the National Film Registry series:

Thursday, June 12, 2003
Based on a short story "Chinese Finale," by Norah Lofts, Seven Women is a drama about women in an isolated American mission on the Chinese-Mongolian border.

Seven Women. Directed by John Ford, 1965. With Anne Bancroft, Sue Lyons, Margaret Leighton, Flora Robson.

The Mary Pickford Theater is located on the third floor of the Library of Congress Madison building, at 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., near the Capitol South Metro stop on the blue or orange line, and the Union Station Metro stop on the red line.

For more information on Mary Pickford Theater films, please see the Pickford Theater Web site.

The Mary Pickford Theater film series are coordinated by the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room of the Library of Congress.

  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  February 12, 2009
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