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video released 1986
This is Meridel LeSueur's poetic history of the midwest, beginning with her own birth in 1900, the beginning of what she called "the most brutal century".
The original 1976 film made by the Twin Cities Women's Film Collective includes Meridel narrating with her own beautiful words, written across the first 75 years of her activist and creative life. Part of whatever the struggle happened to be, she became the written voice of the people's movements--the workers, the unemployed, women, Indians, the farmers--her stories were their stories.
As LeSueur speaks, her pioneer and Indian roots are shown with historical photographs and expressed through scenes of the enduring prairie and the rhythms of its life. Her political perspective and unquenchable independence survived and grew strong through two world wars, and her uncompromising committment to the essential issues of the day tested and retested her resolve. Even though her work was attacked and discredited during the McCarthy Era, she wrote increasingly for radical journals.
Newsreel footage and photos of the struggles for peace and women's rights, past and present, counterpoint the eloquence of her prose. Hearing the words from her journals and diaries, we feel like we are in the presence of a native born Emma Goldman; the film's gift is a unique core-sample of American history, told in the warm, straightforward style of the Midwest.
Here is an excellent catalyst for classroom discussion - history, politics, ecology, sociology, art, literature, women's studies...
For more information on Meridel and her books, go to email@example.com