The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords is the first film to chronicle the history of the black press, including its central role in the construction of modern African American identity. It recounts the largely forgotten stories of generations of black journalists who risked life and livelihood so African Americans could represent themselves in their own words and images.
The Black Press commemorates a heroic and indispensable chapter in the ongoing struggle for a diverse and democratic media. It demonstrates that the written word has been as fundamental as music or religion to the evolution of African American consciousness—and that it is as important today as in the past for black media professionals to play a vigorous role not just in print media but in the rapidly evolving information technologies of the future.
“Retrieves an important missing page from American history and brings it virtually to life. It’s beautifully produced and directed and tells a story as only a powerful film can.” -Bill Moyers
“Stanley Nelson’s stellar documentary masterfully tells the tale of the scribbling pioneers to whom we owe so much and of whom each black writer today is an heir.” -Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University