People’s Communication Network
1973 | 01:03:00 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3
Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles
Tags: Documentation, Politics, Race, Video History
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Two years after the riots and deaths at Attica, New York, a community day was organized at Greenhaven, a federal prison in Connecticut. Think Tank, a prisoners’ group, coordinated efforts with African-American community members outside the prison walls to fight racism and poverty. The event was documented by People’s Communication Network, a community video group founded by Bill Stephens, for cablecast in New York City, marking the first time an alternative video collective was allowed to document an event inside prison walls. Seventy-five-year-old Queen Mother Moore speaks of her support of Marcus Garvey in New Orleans and her involvement with African-American education in Brooklyn. Her powerful delivery of lessons in black history, first-person accounts of resistance in the South, and finally her own a cappella performance of “This country ’tis to me, a land of misery…,” is a testament to the importance of people using media to document their own communities and tell their own histories. This tape was found in the Antioch College (Yellow Springs, Ohio) Free Library, a media access resource project organized in late 1966 by students interested in networking with social movements and media activists around the country.
The original total running time for this piece is 1:03:00. An excerpt of this title (17:41) is only available on Surveying the First Decade: Volume 2.
#LongLiveTheQueenMother 7-27-1898 – 5-2-1997
Queen Mother Moore was born Audley Moore in New Iberia, Louisiana. Her early experiences with racial violence in the South had a profound effect on her consciousness at a young age. Her parents died when she was in fourth grade and by age 14 Moore became the primary supporter of her two younger sisters, Eloise and Lorita. During the 1918 influenza epidemic, she worked as a volunteer nurse. During World War I, she and her two sisters traveled to Anniston, Alabama, to help create what she calls “the first USO for Black soldiers,” which provided medical care, food, and other services for soldiers who were denied assistance by the Red Cross.
Soon she returned to New Orleans where she heard Marcus Garvey speak. This experience of collective unity deeply affected Queen Mother and resulted in her joining the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Queen Mother relocated with her husband and her two sisters to Harlem in the early 1920s. There she organized domestic workers in the Bronx labor market and helped Black tenants in their struggles against white landlords. She was arrested repeatedly for her activities, but she would not stop in her activism. In 1931, she participated in the Communist party’s march in Harlem to free the Scottsboro boys. Inspired by the party’s stance on anti-racism, Queen Mother joined the International Labor Defense and the Communist Party. During the 1930s, she organized around housing issues, the Italian-Ethiopian war, racial prejudice in film, and a host of other issues confronting poor and oppressed Black communities.
She was a Communist Party candidate for the New York State Assembly in 1938 and for alderman in 1940. She was also a member of the National Association of Colored Women and the National Council of Negro Women. By 1950, Queen Mother had resigned from the Communist Party and helped found the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, which worked on welfare rights, prisoners’ rights, and anti-lynching. In 1963, she formed the Reparations Committee of Descendants of U.S. Slaves to demand reparations for Blacks from the government