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Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940: Kino Lorber's Pioneers of African-American Cinema

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This footage, shot by Zora Neale Hurston in the Sea Island community of Beaufort, South Carolina, observes the religious practices of the Gullah people. The footage is accompanied here by field audio recordings by Norman Chalfin, who wrote of the endeavor, “There

was no electric power...Illumination was from kerosene lamps.” Because there was no electricity, they could not effectively synchronize sound and image. In 2006, the footage was selected to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.


Part of Kino Lorber's Pioneers of African American Cinema, a one-of-a-kind collection oftheworks of America's legendary first African-American filmmakers which includes digital restorations of over a dozen feature films, plus shorts, fragments, trailers, documentary footage, archival interviews and audio recordings.

  • Year
    1940
  • Runtime
    42 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Zora Neale Hurston