When African Americans Came To Paris


Six films by Joanne Burke


This series of short videos by award-winning documentarian Joanne Burke brings to life the pioneering years of the African American presence in Paris. Each video includes rare archival film and commentary by experts. They reveal how France, and Paris in particular, became the bridge from a racially segregated USA to great achievement in the wider world.



W. E. B. DuBois and the 1900 Paris ExpositionYale University’s Terri Francis comments on the images of DuBois’ surprising exhibit that challenged the prevailing beliefs about contemporary African American life.


Henry Ossawa Tanner - An Artist in Exile :  The dramatic, image-rich story of the first African American artist to make it big on the international art scene as told by Professors Marcus Bruce of Bates College, Theresa Leininger-Miller of the University of Cincinnati, and Richard Powell of Duke University.

The Harlem Hellfighters:  The experience of African American soldiers in France during World War I, shown through archival film and commented by University of California at Berkeley historian Tyler Stovall.​


James Reese Europe - Warrior and Musician:   Against a stream of riveting footage, Columbia University jazz expert Robert O’Meally lays out the “cultural splash” made by the brilliant bandleader and his musicians in World War I France.​

Jazz Comes to Paris:   Rare scenes of Black Montmartre in full swing provide a framework for cultural historian Brent Hayes Edwards of Columbia and Tyler Stovall of U.C. Berkeley to conjure up the lives of pioneering African Americans in the 1920s & 30s “Jazz Age” Paris.​

Three Women Artists in Paris:   Discover the challenging lives and brilliant works of sculptors Nancy Elizabeth Prophet and Augusta Savage and painter Lois Mailou Jones in the 1920s and 30s. Revealed through evocative film and recounted by University of Cincinnati professor Theresa Leininger-Miller and Duke University’s Richard Powell. ​


     These videos explore a vital part of the African American experience which is not widely known. No other DVD assembles this early, vital period of the African-American experience abroad into one unit.

The short length of each stand-along piece makes it ideal for integrating into courses of history, education, African American Studies, French Studies, American Studies, and Literary Studies. They are accessible for all ages, and an enjoyable, educational document that highlights some of the proudest moments of Black heritage.

Teacher’s Guides for Secondary and Post-Secondary Schools are available.

This DVD is a Blue Lion Films release in partnership with Julia Browne of Walking the Spirit Tours.

Blue Lion Films, Inc.
Blue Lion Films is the New York-based production company of producer/director/editor

Joanne Burke and producer/writer/cameraman David Burke.   Joanne Burke was a top

documentary film editor for CBS, NBC, and PBS in New York for twenty years, editor also of three

feature films for Sidney Lumet, and co-editor of Gimme Shelter, the Maysles Brothers’ classic

documentary about the Rolling Stones.  David Burke was a longtime writer/producer for

CBS News 60 Minutes and other CBS and NBC programs.
Their current work-in-progress is the hour-length documentary Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light.  Joanne and David Burke are longtime Paris residents.


Walking The Spirit Tours - consultant, developer, distributor.
Julia Browne launched Walking The Spirit Tours - the first ever tours of Black Paris - in 1994. Walking The Spirit Tours connects travelers to Black Paris and France through exciting educational walking and bus tours and personalized itineraries. The company also offers full trip travel planning services, and publishes the informative Spirit of Black Paris blogLetter


A France Specialist and an award-winning broadcaster, Julia partnered with Blue Lion Films to further a long held mission for both companies to make African American history in Paris common knowledge for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Website: www.walkingthespirit.com

Specifications: 6 videos of 4-7 minutes each, color and b&w.

Price: $39.99.  $100 for institutions and universities. Downloadable Teacher's Guide available. Please email for orders of more than 10 copies.

Orders: www.AfricanAmericansinParis.com                                                                           For a print version of this One Sheet
Email: info@africanamericansinparis.com

© Blue Lion Films Inc., 2012.