Black Stories: Two Cities


“Black Stories: Two Cities” celebrates Black filmmakers as key narrators of American experience and activists in fights for liberation and equity. Featuring a formally eclectic array of films produced in cities throughout the United States, this series explores the economic, political, and personal forces that shape the built environment.

Thank you to our series sponsor:
Bakari Sellers


Feb 12

Bless Their Little Hearts

This program is part of our Black Stories: Two Cities series.

A performance and presentation by Mark Rapp of ColaJazz about the role of jazz in society and use of jazz in the films follows the screening.

Bless Their Little Hearts

Director: Billy Woodberry

A stunning neo-realist film that applies techniques from global revolutionary cinemas to tell the story of a South Los Angeles family contending with the challenges of unemployment and economic hardship. A patient navigation of everyday life and domesticity that is as tender and candid as it is heartbreaking.

1984. USA. 80 min. NR

preceded by 

When it Rains

Director: Charles Burnett

On New Year’s Day a man (Pan African Film Festival founder Ayuko Babu) tries to help a woman make rent. A lighthearted story of community collaboration and a gorgeous document of Leimert Park, one of the creative hearts of Black Los Angeles.  

1995. USA. 13 min. NR

Thank you to our series sponsor:
Bakari Sellers

Feb 19

"I am Somebody" with "Brick by Brick"

This program is part of our Black Stories: Two Cities series.

Join us for two powerful activist short films helmed by female directors. Tickets are only $5.

With guest speakers Bobby Donaldson, Cecil Williams, and Louise Brown.

I am Somebody

Director: Madeline Anderson

A groundbreaking documentary about a successful 1969 union strike led by Black hospital workers that Civil Rights leader Fannie Lou Hammer hailed as “of decisive importance to all of us.” Exceptional in its clear-eyed depiction of class struggle, women’s experiences, and the financial disparities and racial inequities often concealed by Charleston’s tourism industry.

1970. USA. 30 min. NR

Brick by Brick

Director: Shirikiana Aina

A striking portrait of gentrification in 1970s Washington D.C. that allows residents to speak for themselves about their changing neighborhoods. Inspired by revolutionary movements worldwide, subjects discuss the global struggle against displacement and community efforts to retain property and power.

1982. USA. 33 min. NR

Louise Brown was a key participant in the 1969 hospital workers strike documented in I Am Somebody.

Bobby Donaldson is an Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina where he leads the Center for Civil Rights History and Research. He is also the lead scholar for Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters. Dr. Donaldson’s research and writings explore African American intellectual thought, print culture, education and religion. In 2008, the Historic Columbia Foundation awarded Dr. Donaldson and his students the Helen Kohn Hennig Prize for their documentary project on the Ward One community in downtown Columbia.

Cecil Williams is a civil rights photographer and author of Unforgettable: Life, Hope, & Bravery. 

Thank you to our series sponsor:
Bakari Sellers

Thank you to screening sponsor:
University of South Carolina: College of Arts and Sciences

Feb 26

Flag Wars

This program is part of our Black Stories: Two Cities series.

A post-screening conversation with Dr. Ed Madden and Dr. Todd Shaw about race, gender, and gentrification accompanies the program.

Director: Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras

Prompted by filmmaker Goode Bryant’s inquiry: “Does it look different when two historically oppressed groups try to live together?” Flag Wars is an exceptionally thoughtful, in-depth study of the emotional, economic, and infrastructural motivations and effects of white, gay and lesbian home buyers acquiring property in a historically African-American neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio.  

Ed Madden is a professor of English Language & Literature and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. His research addresses gender, sexuality, and modernism.

Todd Shaw holds appointments in the University of South Carolina’s Political Science and African American studies programs. He researches and teaches broadly in the areas of African American politics, urban politics and public policy, as well as citizen activism and social movements. 

Heidi Rae Cooley is an associate professor of film and media studies. Her research focuses on the relationship between digital media, place, and social practice.

Thank you to our series sponsor:
Bakari Sellers