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Donald Bogle on Ethel Waters & The Member of the Wedding


Donald Bogle is the leading historian of African-American film and television, with books including Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films; Prime Time Blues: African Americans on Network Television; and the best-selling Dorothy Dandridge. His latest biography, Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters (Harper Collins) traces the tumultuous twists and turns of Waters’ seven-decade career, which took her from vaudeville and recorded music to the Broadway stage to movies and television. The book is a riveting blend of social and personal history that sheds new light on one of America’s brightest and most troubled stars. Bogle will discuss Waters’ career and introduce a screening of The Member of the Wedding. The event will be followed by a book signing.

The Member of the Wedding

Dir. Fred Zinnemann. 1952, 91 mins. 35mm print. With Ethel Waters, Julie Harris. Based on the novel by Carson McCullers. In her strongest film performance, Waters recreates her Broadway role as Berenice, the maid who befriends a young tomboy who is unhappy about her brother’s wedding.

Free with Museum admission.