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African-American Documentary Films on DVD in the Leavey Library: Social Customs

Social Customs

Come Hell Or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
"...follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice."

The Contradictions of Fair Hope
'Examination of a little known aspect of American history, when newly freed slaves throughout the South formed 'benevolent societies' to respond to abject hunger, illness and the fear of a pauper's grave. 'The Fair Hope Benevolent Society' in Uniontown, Alabama, provides an unprecedented look at the complex and morally ambiguous juxtaposition of the Society with the worldly pleasures of what has become known as the annual 'Foot Wash' celebration.'

"Through the eyes of funeral director Isaiah Owens, the beauty and grace of African-American funerals are brought to life. Filmed at Owens Funeral Home in New York City's historic Harlem neighborhood, Homegoings takes an up-close look at the rarely seen world of undertaking in the black community, where funeral rites draw on a rich palette of tradition, history and celebration. Combining cinéma vérité with intimate interviews and archival photographs, the film paints a portrait of the dearly departed, their grieving families and a man who sends loved ones 'home."