Pearl Bowser, born in 1931, is an author, television director, director, producer and film archivist from Harlem.
She is the author of a book on the first ten years of the career of Oscar Micheaux, an African-American who made 40 “race photos” between 1918 and 1940.
She is thus recognized for having helped to rediscover some of Oscar Micheaux’s rare films.
She is the founder of African Diaspora Images, a collection of visual and oral histories that document the history of African American cinema.
Part of his background includes teaching filmmaking to young people in the 1960s and 1970s.
Although Bowser initially set out to research the role of black women in early African-American films, she eventually studied both genders because too few black women were among early African-American filmmakers.
In 1931, Pearl Bowser was born in Harlem as the youngest of seven children. She frequented the Harlem movie theaters along 125th Street watching “Hollywood Westerns, B movies, and all the noir movies that came out at the time.”
Bowser discovered her film career when a friend, documentary filmmaker Ricky Leacock, asked her to work in his office where she helped with billing and ordering materials.
Bowser began giving seminars and workshops on African American and African cinema at universities, libraries, and museums in 1971.
She was director of the Theater Project of Third World Newsreel, the largest distributor of independent people of color films in the United States, from 1978 to 1987.
Photo credit: source.
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