THE OTHER MADISONS

The Other Madisons is a remarkable contribution to American history documenting the process by which an oral tradition preserves, with exquisite fidelity, an important social record, in spite of, or perhaps in response to, suppression or neglect by discrimination and racism.

 

In this documentary film, Dr. Bettye Kearse documents her personal experience with research and cultural institutions and her visits to sites in Ghana, Portugal, Virginia, and Texas that figure prominently in her family history. In so doing, she demonstrates how family history becomes public history. What is lost, perhaps, in this pivot from private to public telling, from oral telling to written text, is the griotte’s voice, her facial expression, her body language, and all the nonverbal signals that give life to each ancestor and communicate the authority, wisdom, and love implicit in the griotte role.

In this documentary film, Dr. Bettye Kearse documents her personal experience with research and cultural institutions and her visits to sites in Ghana, Portugal, Virginia, and Texas that figure prominently in her family history. In so doing, she demonstrates how family history becomes public history. What is lost, perhaps, in this pivot from private to public telling, from oral telling to written text, is the griotte’s voice, her facial expression, her body language, and all the nonverbal signals that give life to each ancestor and communicate the authority, wisdom, and love implicit in the griotte role.

The Other Madisons will start Principal Photography in October 2020, and its premier is expected by February 2021.

HD|30 min. produced by Soledad LIENDO directed by Eduardo MONTES-BRADLEY.

LEFT: Elizabeth (Betsey) Madison, born into slavery, was Bettye Kearse’s great-great-grandmother. RIGHT: Mack Madison, Kearse’s great-grandfather and the son of Betsey and Emanuel Madison. (Courtesy of Bettye Kearse)

© 2020 | Heritage Film Project