Take Your Bags + A String of Pearls

Co-Presented with Scribe Video Center

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NOTE: This program takes place at Scribe Video Center, 3908 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Introduced by Valerie Smith

Take Your Bags

New 2K Restoration

Camille Billops explores the legacy of slavery and the theft of cultural memory. (Camille Billops, USA, 1998, 11 min.)

"My take on slavery: when the Africans boarded the ships bound for America, they carried in their bags all their memories of home. When they arrived in the New World, their bags had been switched… Many generations later, the children of these Africans toured the Museum of Modern Art to see the sculptures and art of Picasso, Braque and Matisse. Lo! There were the beautiful icons of their ancestors, the images that had been stolen from their bags." —Camille Billops

Followed by:

A String of Pearls

New 2K Restoration

In the final installment of her acclaimed Family Trilogy (which also includes Suzanne, Suzanne and Finding Christa), Camille Billops turns the camera on four generations of men in her family and considers the ways in which urban violence, unemployment, and the early deaths of their own fathers have shaped their lives. (Camille Billops & James Hatch, USA, 2002, 56 min.)

Valerie Smith, a distinguished scholar of African American literature, is the 15th president of Swarthmore College, where her priorities have included strengthening and expanding initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion; supporting curricular innovation; improving the campus’s facilities and infrastructure; ensuring the College fulfills its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035; and strengthening relationships between the College and the region. Her efforts during the largest campaign in the College’s history generated unprecedented support for students and for transformative facilities projects that provide new opportunities for collaboration and community building.

President Smith is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of the American Council on Education (ACE), the National Museum of the American Indian, PSEG, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College, she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Virginia. Prior to her arrival at Swarthmore, she was a professor of English and African American Studies at UCLA, and the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, founding director of the Center for African-American Studies, and the dean of the college at Princeton University. She is the author of three books on African American literature and culture and the editor or co-editor of five others.