Tell Them We Are Rising
Feb 19, 9 PM

Tell Them We Are Rising

The Story of Black Colleges and Universities

  • BY Stanley Nelson & Marco Williams | IN Race & Ethnicity
    Premieres February 19, 2018

About the Film

The rich history of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) began before the end of slavery, flourished in the 20th century, and profoundly influenced the course of the nation for over 150 years — yet remains largely unknown. With Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, the latest documentary from Stanley Nelson (Black Panthers, Freedom Riders) and Marco Williams, the powerful story of the rise, influence, and evolution of HBCUs comes to life.   MORE

A haven for Black intellectuals, artists, and revolutionaries — and a path of promise toward the American dream — HBCUs have educated the architects of freedom movements and cultivated leaders in every field while remaining unapologetically Black for more than 150 years. These institutions have nurtured some of the most influential Americans of our time, from Booker T. Washington to Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois to Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison to Oprah Winfrey, Alice Walker to Spike Lee to Common.  A key driver of Black social, political and economic progress, HBCUs were also a place of unprecedented freedom for African American students and a refuge from the rampant racism that raged outside the campus walls. Tell Them We Are Rising captures this important history to tell the dynamic story of Americans who refused to be denied a higher education and — in their resistance — created a set of institutions that would influence and shape the landscape of the country for centuries to come.


The Filmmakers

Stanley Nelson has been acknowledged as one of the preeminent documentary filmmakers of our time. He has directed and produced over 12 documentary features including Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Summer, Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple and The Murder of Emmett Till. Nelson has won every major award in broadcasting. In 2016, he was honored with a Lifetime Peabody Award, a Lifetime Emmy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association. He is a 2014 National Humanities Medalist, multiple Emmy Award winner, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He holds a BFA from City College of New York, and Honorary Doctorates from Duke University and Haverford College. He has taught documentary film production at Howard University, Brooklyn College, and the University of California, Berkeley and guest lectured at universities and film schools around the world.

Nelson is co-founder of Firelight Media, a nonprofit production company dedicated to using historical film to advance contemporary social justice causes, and to mentoring, inspiring and training a new generation of diverse young filmmakers committed to advancing underrepresented stories.

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and a film educator. He is an Arts Professor at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Undergraduate Department of Film and Television. His directing credits include The Black Fives, The Undocumented, Inside the New Black Panthers; Banished; Freedom Summer; I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education; MLK Boulevard: The Concrete Dream; Two Towns of Jasper; Making Peace: Rebuilding our Communities; The Spiritual Deficit and The American Dream; In Search of Our Fathers; and From Harlem to Harvard. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a George Foster Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont Silver Baton, the Pan African Film Festival Outstanding Documentary Award, the Full Frame Documentary Festival Spectrum Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists First Place Salute to Excellence. LESS

Film Credits

WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Stanley Nelson

CO-PRODUCED and CO-DIRECTED BY
Marco Williams

PRODUCED BY
Cyndee Readdean
Stacey L. Holman

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Lois Vossen
Sally Jo Fifer

WRITTEN BY
Marcia Smith

EDITED BY
K.A. Miille

MUSIC COMPOSED BY
Tom Phillips

ARCHIVAL PRODUCER
Carol Bash

DIRECTOR OF FILM RESEARCH
Prue Arndt

FILM RESEARCHER
Mattie Akers

ADVISORS Walter Allen
James Anderson
Marybeth Gasman
Michael Lomax
Edna Greene Medford

FIRST ASSISTANT EDITOR
Jota Sosnowski

ADDITIONAL EDITING
Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Amy Shatsky

LINE PRODUCER
Ann Bennett

CINEMATOGRAPHY BY
Antonio Rossi
Josh Bagnall
Peter Hutchens
Garland McLaurin
Naiti Gámez
Thomas Kaufman

SOUND RECORDISTS
J.T. Takagi
Gautam K. Choudhury
Roger Phenix
Mike Coleman
Tim Connor
Allendra Freeman

PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT
Cheryl R. Williams

COLOR CORRECTION/ONLINE FACILITY
MPE

TITLES, MOTION GRAPHICS
AND VISUAL EFFECTS
Edgeworx Studios, LLC

POEM DESIGN AND ANIMATION
Molly Schwartz

MAP ANIMATION
Alisa Placas

PHOTO RETOUCHERS
vanOs
Amanda Lauren Dzienkowski
James Meade

AUDIO POST FACILITY
String & Can

MUSIC CONSULTANT
Rena Kosersky
Peter Miller

ADDITIONAL MUSIC
Luis Fernando da Silva

ARCHIVAL MATERIALS COURTESY OF
ABC News Videosource
The Afro-American
Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama
Alcorn State University
Allen University
American Antiquarian Society
Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA
Associated Press
The Atlanta Constitution
Atlanta History Center
Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
BBC Broadcast Archive
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Bluefield State College
Boston Public Library
Brown Brothers
Budget Films Stock Footage
Capital City Press/Georges Media Group, and Baton Rouge, LA
Cecil Williams Photography
Christianburg Institute
CNN Collection
Columbia Center for Oral History Archives
Collection of the New York Historical Society, USA / Bridgeman Images
Connecticut Journal
Cook Collection, The Valentine
The CONUS Archive
Corey Johnson
Cornell University
Critical Past
DC Public Library, Star Collection, Washington Post
Delaware State University
Department of Special Collections and Dillard University
Dorothy W. Smith
E-Footage
East Baton Rouge Public Library
Estate of Thurgood Marshall
Emory University
Everett Collection, Inc.
F.D. Bluford Archives, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
F.I.L.M. Archives
Florida A&M
The Fort Family
Footage Farm
Fox Movietone Archive
The Franklin Library, Fisk University
Fred Prejean
Garrett Garms, Winston-Salem State University
George Tames / The New York Times / Redux
Georgia Historical Society
Gerard Howard, HBCUBANDS
Getty Images
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Global Image Works, LLC
Grambling State University
Gray Television Group, Inc., WCTV-TV / Tallahassee
Greensboro News & Record
Greg French
Sherman Grinberg Film Library
Hampton University Archives
Harvard University
Haverford College Library
Historic Films Archive, LLC
Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library
Honda
Howard University
Internet Archive
ITN Source
Jessika Ward
John E. Allen, Inc.
Johnson C. Smith University
Joseph & Vivian Tucker
Josephine Smith-Jones
Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center
John Kouns
Larry Gibson
Larry Pannell and Janice Cowans
L'Atelier des Archives
Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos
Library of Congress
Lincoln University
Linda Miller / C.M. Battey Collection
Louisiana and Special Collections Department, University of New Orleans
Louisiana Department of Archives and History
Madam Walker Family Archives / A’Lelia Bundles
Matthew Millighan
Mercer Museum
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Mississippi Valley State University
Moorland Spingarn Research Center
Morgan State University
Morris Brown College
MUSE Communications
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Nashville Public Library, Special Collections
National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, Ohio History
National Archives and Records Administration
NBCUniversal Archives
New Haven Museum
New Orleans Public Library
New York Public Library
North Carolina Central University
Oddball Films
Ohio History Connection
Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection / The Daily Oklahoman
Paine College
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
Penn School Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill Wilson Library
Peter Holden
Presbyterian Historical Society
Producers Library
Prometheus Books
RetroFootage
Rickey Hill
Ron Grossman and Tribune Reporter / Chicago Tribune / TNS
Rose Library, Emory University
Saint Augustine's University
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History,
Smithsonian Institution
Southern University Archives
Special Collections and University Archives, Johnston Memorial Library,
Virginia State University
Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
Special Collections, University Libraries, Virginia Tech
Spelman College Archives
State Archives of Florida
State Archives of North Carolina
Streamline Films
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library, Emory University
The Tapscott Family
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Tennessee State University
Texas Archive of the Moving Image, courtesy of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman
Thomas County, Georgia Historical Society
Tuskegee University Archives
UCLA Film & TV Archive
United Negro College Fund
Department of Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Arkansas Pine Bluff
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
University of Virginia Special Collections
Vanderbilt TV News Archive
Video Dialog, Inc.
Videoline Productions
WAFB-TV
Wazee Digital
Winston Salem State University
WNET / THIRTEEN Productions LLC
The WPA Film Library
WSB Newsfilm Collection, University of Georgia Libraries
WVUE-TV
Xavier University

FUNDING PROVIDED BY
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Lumina Foundation
Ford Foundation / JustFilms
The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations

Tell Them We are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is a co-production of Firelight Films, Inc., National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This film was produced by Firelight Films, Inc., which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2016 FIRELIGHT FILMS. All rights reserved.

Did you attend a HBCU? What was your experience like? Did members of your family go to a HBCU as well? How much did you know about the history of these schools before this film?

AWARDS

  • Black Reel Awards
    Outstanding Independent Documentary (Nomination)
  • Image Awards
    Outstanding Documentary (Nomination)
Please review our comment guidelines.
Did you attend a HBCU? What was your experience like? Did members of your family go to a HBCU as well? How much did you know about the history of these schools before this film?