The Margaret Burroughs Centennial Film Series, presented by South Side Projections and the DuSable Museum of African American History, continues with a tribute to one of America’s most important poets, Nikki Giovanni.
The Black Woman (Stan Lathan, 1970, 52 min., 16mm), a 1970 episode of the public television series Black Journal, focuses on the relationship of Black women to Black men, white society, and the struggle for Black liberation. Nikki Giovanni is joined by poet/activists Bibi Amina Baraka and Sonia Sanchez, anthropologist Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, singer Lena Horne, and other Black women who discuss their role in contemporary society and the problems they confront. The episode includes performances by Giovanni, Roberta Flack, and dancer Loretta Abbott. Spirit to Spirit: Nikki Giovanni (Mirra Banks, 1986, 28 min., DVD) is a lyrical and provocative portrait of Giovanni, once crowned “the Princess of Black Poetry.” The film details her coming of age in the era of the Civil Rights struggle, the Vietnam War, and the Women’s Movement. Selected readings by Giovanni reveal the personal history that influenced her poetry, combining with performance footage, photos, archival footage, and animation to recreate Giovanni’s journey and the journey of Black America