Mabel Parker Hardison Smith (Film)

Mabel Parker Hardison Smith

  •  Anne Lewis
  •  1985
  • Color IconColor
  •  28:37
  •  3/4” U-matic video
Film Description
Mabel Parker Hardison Smith is a black Appalachian who taught school for over 35 years in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky. Beloved by students from more than one generation, she is also known for her musical abilities as organist for her church and a local gospel group. Full of humor and vitality, Smith speaks eloquently about her family’s history in the deep South, their migration to the mountains, and life in the segregated coal camps. Widowed while pregnant with her third child, she describes how she went to college and became a teacher despite personal and financial difficulties. Smith's story is that of a strong woman whose dignity, conviction, and faith saw her through some very difficult times.

Screenings & Festivals
  • Anthros, The Barbara Myerhoff Film Festival
  • Atlanta Independent Film Festival

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“Smith recollects the life of a black miner’s family while archival and personal photos fascinatingly illustrate her colorful narration. An appealing character study.” — Booklist
“Literally hundreds of African-Americans from Appalachia who’ve left their footprints in the sands of time admit readily that they were standing on the shoulders of great teachers in the area’s ‘colored’ schools, teachers like Mabel Parker Hardison Smith. I thank God for the Mabels in the mountains.” — Winston-Salem State University