Q&A with co-director Anne Lewis in theatre following the screening
For six decades Anne Braden (1924-2006) fought for civil rights in America. Born into a white middle-class family in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in Alabama, Anne McCarty began questioning the racial status quo while attending a women’s college in Virginia. Her work on newspapers in Alabama and Kentucky provided even more disturbing stories of the effects of racism and segregation. Her marriage to news reporter Carl Braden, a left-wing supporter of unions, further liberalized her views. The 1950s brought ample opportunities to demonstrate support of African American integration into mainstream American society.
Braden led or participated in hospital desegregation demonstrations and protests against executions of prisoners. In 1954 the Bradens bought a house on behalf of an African American couple in suburban Louisville, which led to cries of “Communists!” and a trial for “Sedition!” McCarthyite hysteria ruled the day.
No longer employable in Louisville, the Bradens became field organizers soliciting white members for the budding civil rights movement. As reporters Anne and her husband created numerous pamphlets, flyers, and magazine articles promoting various civil rights campaigns. In 1958 Anne Braden’s book The Wall Between was published and brought praise from Martin Luther King Jr and Eleanor Roosevelt. Through the 1960s and 70s Anne Braden remained committed to the struggle to bring about greater racial equality in America. In the 1980s she added women, environmental, and anti-nuclear issues to her causes. Anne Braden remained a powerhouse and an inspiration to many young activists right up until her death in 2006.
Filmmaker Anne Lewis is well known in Austin, both as a highly respected professor at the University of Texas at Austin and as a director of documentaries with a strong socio-political foundation. She has long been associated with Appalshop, an arts and education center located in the heart of Appalachia. Her documentaries have looked at women involved in the fast-food industry, labor strikes within the coal mining industry, movements against strip-mining, and immigration and its effects on jobs and towns in the US and Mexico.
Mimi Pickering, the producer and co-director of ANNE BRADEN: SOUTHERN PATRIOT, has likewise created award-winning films about a flood caused by the collapse of a coal-waste dam, singers Hazel Dickens and Sarah Ogan Gunning, and environmental racism (with Anne Lewis).
Produced by Mimi Pickering
Edited by Anne Lewis
USA, 2012, Appalshop, DCP, B&W and color
Anne Braden: Southern Patriot (1924-2006) -- 3 minute sample from Anne Lewis on Vimeo.