Harlem, New York City, New York, United States, North and Central America
March 23, 1952
This 16mm film features footage of the Sojourners of Truth and Justice Eastern Seaboard Conference held on March 23, 1952, at the YMCA in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. It was attended by nearly 100 women and this footage captures the group’s last major gathering.
A 16mm black-and-white-film strip (2012.79.1.4.1a-d) containing footage of the Sojourners of Truth and Justice Eastern Seaboard Conference held on March 23, 1952, at the YMCA in Harlem, New York City. Nearly 100 women attended the event and this footage captures the group’s last major gathering. Actor and organizer Paul Robeson can be seen seated at the far left of the onstage table. To Robeson’s right, educator and Communist Party leader Dr. Doxey Wilkerson and his wife Yolanda are seated. To the right of the Wilkersons, is activist and intellectual Alphaeus Hunton, husband of Dorothy Hunton, who is the first speaker. Civil rights activist Claudia Jones can be seen in the foreground, seated at the far right of the onstage table. Activist Louise Thompson Patterson can be seen wearing a Sojourners for Truth and Justice ribbon. The second-to-last speaker is Alice Childress. The footage mostly consists of the speakers on the stage, but there is also footage of the audience.
The film opens with a view of the stage and Dorothy Hunton approaching the microphone. As she approaches the microphone, the conference attendees seated at a table on the stage applaud. The camera then pans the table and captures all attendees seated at the table while Hunton speaks. The next speaker is Doxey Wilkerson, and the footage shows him approaching the microphone, as those on the stage and in the audience applaud. The camera then pans back to the audience and to those seated at the table onstage. Many of the shots are out of focus. The footage of the speakers ends and then there is brief footage of a collection basket with hands placing money into it. Following that, there is footage of Louise Thompson Patterson wearing a Sojourners for Truth and Justice ribbon, and then the footage cuts to two women also wearing Sojourners for Truth and Justice ribbons. In the next scene, men and women can be seen exiting the building, dressed in formal attire. The film then cuts back to the event inside with another speaker at the microphone and shots of the attendees at the table onstage. Following that speaker, three men approach the microphone and appear to sing. Three women appear at the microphone after the singers, and then Alice Childress approaches the microphone and speaks. She reads from some prepared remarks, and then the camera briefly shows the table onstage. The footage then shows one last speaker before the film ends. The long breaks that occur in the film indicate where the separate reels have been spliced together.