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I Am Somebody
Directed by Madeline Anderson
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Three films by Madeline Anderson
Home Video DVD also includes Integration Report 1 and A Tribute to Malcolm X

Named to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress, preserved by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, and widely available for the first time, Madeline Anderson’s I AM SOMEBODY (1970), along with her pioneering INTEGRATION REPORT 1 (1960), the first known documentary directed by an African American woman, and A TRIBUTE TO MALCOLM X (1967), bring viewers to the front lines of the fight for civil rights.

In 1969, black female hospital workers in Charleston, South Carolina went on strike for union recognition and a wage increase, only to find themselves in a confrontation with the state government and the National Guard. Featuring Andrew Young, Charles Abernathy, and Coretta Scott King and produced by Local 1199, New York’s Drug and Hospital Union, I AM SOMEBODY is a crucial document in the struggle for labor rights. 

Recognized as the first documentary ever directed by an African-American woman, INTEGRATION REPORT 1 examines the struggle for black equality in Alabama, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C., incorporating footage by documentary legends Albert Maysles and Ricky Leacock, protest songs by Maya Angelou, and a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Directed by Anderson for the William Greaves-produced WNET television program Black Journal, the film A TRIBUTE TO MALCOLM X features a rare interview with Malcolm X’s widow, Dr. Betty Shabazz, shortly after his 1965 assassination. 

A testament to the courage of the workers and activists at the heart of her films as well as her own bravery, tenacity and skill, the films of Madeline Anderson are both essential historical records of activism and a vital body of cinematic work.

"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 approach. An 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

"A set of three documentaries ... of great moment [and] enduring power." Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"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

"This compilation offers a fascinating look at how Anderson used her medium to spotlight the tumultuous fights for both civil rights and women's rights." Phil Hall, Video Librarian

National Film Registry, Library of Congress

30 minutes / Color
Closed Captioned
Release: 1970
Copyright: 1970

For individual consumers (home video)

This DVD is sold for private, home use only.

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For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
African-Americans, American Studies, Civil Rights, Economic Sociology, History (U.S.), Labor Studies, North America, Social Movements, Women's Studies

Watch the trailer:

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