Transcending the "Dust": African-American Filmmakers Preserving the “Glimpse of the Eternal”

Dr. Foluke Ogunleye


This paper, using the historical and literary approaches explores the interface between history, literature, and the African-American Diaspora. Julie Dash and Zeinabu Irene Davis are part of the crop of a growing number of independent African-American women filmmakers who are actively affirming the history of African-Americans in their films and putting the oral history into concrete form. We examine Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust and Zeinabu Davis’s Mother of the River. Both films go back in time to show the foremothers of a race clutching tenaciously to their history in order to re-state their identity and to impart dignity and meaning into the lives of their children. We see that various African motifs have survived the middle passage as portrayed in these films and that they continue to have an impact upon the lives of Africans in the Diaspora.



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