award-winning documentary “Standing On My Sisters’
Shoulders” takes on the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi
in the 1950’s and 60’s from the point of view of the
courageous women who lived it – and emerged as its grassroots
leaders. These women stood up and fought for the right to vote and
the right to an equal education. They not only brought about change
in Mississippi, but they altered the course of American history.
Civil Rights movement brought forth many heroes, such as Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Rosa Parks, who have been made famous
by their commitment to the cause. Yet most of us have never heard
of Fannie Lou Hamer, Annie Devine, Unita Blackwell, Mae Bertha Carter,
or Victoria Gray Adams. But without the efforts of these women,
the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi would not have been possible.
In a state where lynching of black males was the highest in the
nation, a unique opportunity for women emerged to become activists
in the movement. This is their story of commitment, bravery and
leadership in the face of a hostile and violent segregated society.
documentary presents original interviews with many of the Civil
Rights movement’s most remarkable women: Unita Blackwell,
a sharecropper turned activist, who became Mississippi’s first
female black mayor; Mae Bertha Carter, a mother of 13, whose children
became the first to integrate the Drew County schools against dangerous
opposition; white student activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland who
not only participated in sit-ins but took a stand on integration
by attending an all black university; Annie Devine and Victoria
Gray Adams, who, along with Fannie Lou Hamer, stepped up and challenged
the Democratic Party and President Johnson at the 1964 Convention.
In the name of freedom and equal rights, these women bravely
faced great adversity and risked their physical safety, their jobs,
and even their lives. When asked how they did it, one activist said,
“I was standing on my sisters’ shoulders.”
you see these people coming with guns to defend, to keep us down
from this, registering to vote--this vote must really be about something.
And I said, 'If I die, I die for something."
(1st Black Woman Mayor