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Strong Rooted Volume I: April 20, 2017

Tressie Souders (February 7, 1897-January 17, 1995)

Would there be a Shonda Rhimes or Ava DuVernay if there were never a Tressie Souders? Probably, but I order to know where we are going, we have to know where we came from. Black women have been directing films since as far back as the 1920’s and maybe further. Tressie Souders was born in Kansas in 1897 to parents who migrated from the South in hopes of a better future. Like most African-American’s Tressie did not have it easy and found herself having to move from one girl home to the other after her parents separated and her mother died. Tressie eventually ended up in California where she produced and directed her first film entitled, “A Lure of a Woman.”

How ironic is it that older movies like ‘Birth of a Nation” or “Arrival of a Train,” still exist, but there are no known copies of “Lure of a Woman.” How do we know we have not seen this film changed in its cinematic representation? We don’t. Somehow, we still know her name. I wish that we could see for ourselves what the movie looked like and how it was cut. Maybe one day we will be able to. Until then, we can support the legacy of her name through other venues such as the Tressie Souder Film Society.

“The times may have changed, but the people are still the same. We’re still looking for love, and that will always be our struggle as human beings.” – Halle Berry

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