In 1969, 400 poorly paid black women—hospital workers in Charleston, South Carolina—went on strike to demand union recognition and a wage increase, only to find themselves in a confrontation with the National Guard and the state government.
Supported by such notables as Andrew Young, Charles Abernathy, and Coretta Scott King, the women nonetheless conducted a strike under the guidance of District 1199, the New York based union, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
A testament to the courage of these women who would not be humbled, the now classic I AM SOMEBODY is both an inspiring film and an important historical record.
"Terrific! By turns intimate and sweeping, a familiar story of social injustice and self-determination that relates to the larger civil rights movement even as it remains rooted in specific lives. With its weave of interviews and on-the-street scenes—and, notably, a female voice-over—I Am Somebody. is an exemplar of a certain nonfiction approachAn excellent film for courses which touch on women's work, American society, and issues of class, race, and ethnicity." —Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"An excellent film for courses which touch on women's work, American society, and issues of class, race, and ethnicity." —American Anthropologist
"This film packs a tremendous punch and is deeply moving at the same time. The fact that 400 black women were able to take on the power structure of the state of South Carolina and win is of decisive importance to all of us." —Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights Leader
"As the first contemporary documentary made by, for, and about black women workers, I Am Somebody offers a unique opportunity to reconsider the intersections between feminism, union activism, and the civil rights movement in the late sixties...The film visualizes the impossibility of extracting gender from its social, political, and economic imbrications with class and race." —Shilyh Warren, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society