A Film by
Barbara Montgomery
 
   "Moving People Forward Through the American Past"  
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Biographies
S. Epatha Merkerson  (Miss Ruth)
Ms. Merkerson has won critical acclaim for her work in theatre, television and film. She is best known for her portrayal of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC’s LAW AND ORDER (2006/2010/2011 Image Award). Her credits include the HBO film LACKAWANNA BLUES (Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, Gracie Allen, 2006 Image Award and an IFP Spirit Award nomination) RADIO (Cammie Award), BLACK SNAKE MOAN, TERMINATOR II: JUDGEMENT DAY, RANDOM HEARTS, NAVY SEALS, MOTHER AND CHILD , THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY, WE THE PEEPLES3 and Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN. Ms. Merkerson’s extensive theatre work includes the 2008 Broadway revival of COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA, (Tony Award nomination), August Wilson’s THE PIANO LESSON (Tony, Drama Desk and Helen Hayes Award nominations), BIRDIE BLUE (Obie Award), I’M NOT STUPID (Obie Award), THE OLD SETTLER (Helen Hayes Award) and F*CKING A by Suzan Lori Parks (Lucille Lortel Award nomination).
In January 2012 she completed her first feature documentary as producer/director. THE CONTRADICTIONS OF FAIR HOPE received the 2012 Best Documentary, Best Feature, Best Direction and the Filmmakers Choice Award at the San Diego Black Film Festival and Best Feature at the 2012 Texas Black Film Festival.

A native of Detroit Michigan, Ms. Merkerson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University and 2 Honorary Doctorates one from WSU-2009 and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2012.

Ruby Dee  (Miss Yolonda)

Ruby Dee is a real American icon; honored in her lifetime by Presidents, royalty, the elite members of her artistic peers and a grateful culture-minded public of several generations. Ms. Dee is a recent Academy Award nominee for her role in AMERICAN GANGSTER. She (along with her late husband, Ossie Davis) is the 2007 GRAMMY AWARD winners for the Spoken Word autobiography WITH OSSIE & RUBY: IN THIS LIFE TOGETHER. Ms. Dee was featured, along with Alicia Keyes, in the critically acclaimed biography series ICONOCLASTS for the Sundance Channel and co-stars in the independent feature film STEAM which premiered at the Women’s International Film Festival in Miami.

Winner of the 2006 New Zealand Screen Award for Best Actress in her role as a Fijian matriarch in NAMING NUMBER 2; Ms. Dee continues to embellish a career built on signature performances in classics like Lutiebelle in PURLIE VICTORIOUS, Ruth in A RAISIN IN THE SUN, Lena in BOSEMAN AND LENA (Drama Desk and Obie Award) and Mary Tyrone in LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (Cable Ace Award). Other note worthy roles include her artistry in ANNA LUCASTA, DO THE RIGHT THING, BUCK AND THE PREACHER, WEDDING BAND, ST LUCY’S EYES, THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY, JUNGLE FEVER, COUNTDOWN IN KUSINI(Co-Producer),GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN and DECORATION DAY for which she was awarded an Emmy.

An inductee in the THEATRE HALL OF FAME, Ms. Dee is also a member of the NAACP IMAGE AWARD HALL OF FAME, the recipient of the NATIONAL MEDAL OF ARTS AWARD, the SILVER CIRCLE AWARD of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Screen Actors Guild LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. IN 2004, Ms. Dee & Mr. Davis were recipients of the JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER honors. Ms. Dee is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Sharon Hope  (Miss Kate)
Sharon Hope was recently seen in her solo performance Mrs. Reader at the Broadway Comedy Club. She performed the role of Shirley Chisholm in her original one woman show “Making History Again: Fighting Shirley Chisholm” for AFTRA’s March celebration of Women, and for the 2nd annual 2012 Juneteenth Festival of Plays. She was also featured in “Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change” which celebrated Black History Month in 2011.She has performed in Equity Regional Theaters, SAG/AFTRA industrial films, and in the roles of Travel Agent, Judge, and Mother in “Law and Order” TV episodes. Film credits include: “The Cycle”, winner HBO short film award; Little Senegal Nominated for the Golden Bear Award – Berlin Film Festival; and the soon to be released films “The Boarding House” and “The Newlyweds.”