Publication Date

March 1, 1991

Perspectives Section



Visual Culture

The New England Foundation for the Humanities has produced a videotape of playwright Jack Carroll’s The Other Boston Tea Party, an original drama set in Boston in 1788. Over tea, the brash young statesman Harrison Gray Otis pits himself against the feisty old revolutionary Samuel Adams in a boisterous, witty, and deadly serious debate over the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In its numerous performances, the Tea Party has proved to have broad appeal and is appropriate for use in classrooms from eighth grade through the university. The Other Boston Tea Party opens up the historical, social, and political background of the Constitution and serves as the ideal starting place for discussion of many issues.

A 110-page Teacher’s Guide, written by Lorenca Consuela Rosal, follows the tape scene by scene, providing practical aid and primary source materials for teachers. Copies of The Other Boston Tea Party and Teacher’s Guide are available from the New England Foundation for the Humanities, 600 Washington Street, Suite 650, Boston, MA 02111. The tape costs $25, the guide $10, shipping and handling included. For further information, please call (617) 482-8030. The Other Boston Tea Party was produced with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Constitutional Bicentennial Commission, the New England Telephone Company, and the state humanities councils of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Pioneer women’s history is the theme of As the Wind Rocks the Wagon, a historically accurate “play-on-video” production that dramatically recreates the experiences of families on the Oregon Trail between 1840 and 1870. Taken from diaries, letters, and memoirs written by pioneer women, the script provides fascinating insight into pioneer life from a perspective that has rarely been offered. The production features actress Amy Warner and the paintings of photographer/painter/explorer William Henry Jackson (1843–1942). As the Wind Rocks the Wagon is a valuable tool for educators teaching American history, English, drama, and women’s studies, and is ideal for ages ranging from junior high school to adult. An informative teacher’s guide accompanies each tape at no additional cost. The program is offered at the introductory price of $99.95, plus $5.00 for shipping. Discounts are available for quantity purchases. Order from APL Educational Video, 51 West 81st Street, Suite 1B, New York, NY 10024; (800) 533-5959.

The Yidishe Gauchos, a video narrated by Eli Wallach, tells the little-known story of the Jews who fled the persecution and pogroms of Russia and Eastern Europe for the pampas of Argentina at the end of the 19th century. With the help of the Jewish Colonization Association, thousands of these immigrants became ranchers and farmers in Argentina, creating the phenomenon of the Jewish Gaucho. The program is based on a year of research in Argentina, and includes rare archival footage, oral histories, and interviews with academics. The video comes in English and Spanish versions, and a teacher’s discussion guide is available. The Yidishe Gauchos was produced by Fine Line Productions in cooperation with the Judah L. Magnes Museum and the Fundacion Cinemateca Argentina. To order, contact Filmakers Library, Inc., 124 East 40th St., New York, NY 10016; (212) 808-4980.

California Newsreel has just released its 1990–91 Black America Emerges catalog of films and videos on African American life and history. The seven prize-winning documentaries in the series have been selected to provide a multidisciplinary overview of African American life and race relations in the years between slavery and civil rights. James Baldwin: The Price of a Ticket evokes the world and work of the brilliant American author and civil rights activist whose prophetic voice called on Americans to confront their shared racial tragedy. Trouble Behind: The Origins of Racism uncovers the roots of today’s white racism in the history of a seemingly typical American small town, Corbin, KY, the site of a historic race riot of 1919. Ethnic Notions is the Emmy-winning documentary which uncovers the evolution of the deeply-rooted stereotypes that have fueled anti-black prejudice. The Road to Brown is the story of Jim Crow and the brilliant legal assault on it—led by the visionary black lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston—which launched the civil rights movement. Miles of Smiles/Years of Struggle recreates black working life in the early years of the 20th century and the struggle for dignity in the workplace as it tells the story of the Pullman workers. We Shall Overcome recovers the deep strands of social history which came together in the civil rights movement by tracing the sources of the anthem that set America marching towards equality. Finally, Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues shows how the economic and social transformation of African American life early in the century gave birth to and is reflected in the music of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, and other legendary women who made the blues a vital part of American culture.

All titles can be purchased from California Newsreel. For a free Black America Emerges catalog or more information, contact California Newsreel, 149 9th St., #424, San Francisco, CA 94103; (415) 621-6196.