Meet Mary Pleasant


Meet Mary Pleasant, a unique, historical performance documentary, unfolds the saga of Mary Ellen Pleasant, the daring, unsung 19th-century African-American activist and entrepreneur now called the Mother of Civil Rights in California. Narrated by acclaimed actress Ruby Dee (SAG Best Supporting Actress, 2007), the film allows Pleasant to speak in live performance, using song, montage, re-enactment, commentary and narration to enliven a backdrop of achievement, love, scandal and American history. Pleasant's story is inspiring and important internationally. As entrepreneur, she amassed $30,000,000 and as activist she changed modern-day civil rights law and affected civil rights throughout the US and in Canada. The film was produced, written, and directed by Susheel Bibbs, the Emmy Award-winning producer who plays Pleasant. Bibbs was dubbed the world's foremost authority on Pleasant by San Francisco Supervisors.

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Cheryl Susheel Bibbs (writer/director/producer), currently the foremost expert on Mary Ellen Pleasant, is also a well-known touring performing artist, an author and an award-winning TV producer and filmmaker. Formerly a longterm faculty member at UC Berkeley, Bibbs holds a doctorate in Communications with emphasis in the mass communication of African-American and Diaspora history, a Bachelor's Degree, several diplomas in opera, a Masters Degree in voice from the New England Conservatory and has won numerous awards for her work as an executive producer for public television. Her films on Mary Ellen Pleasant have won key festival awards and honors, among them a Northern California Telly Award for her thirty-minute PBS documentary The Legacies of Mary Ellen Pleasant, Best Documentary Awards from the Berkeley International Film Festival for her short Meet Mary Pleasant and a New York International Independent Film Festival award in Hollywood for her feature-length performance documentary Meet Mary Pleasant, Mother of Civil Rights in California. This film was chosen for national broadcast on PBS 2008-2017, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and earned Bibbs a Best Director of a Documentary Award in New York. Bibbs' earlier documentary An Unsung Muse, Classical Song of Black Composers is now distributed on DVD. For her tireless efforts in the arts and humanities, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has awarded Susheel Bibbs their Highest Commendation. She has also won commendations from the St. Louis City Museum and the Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles for extending the awareness of her community and making contributions to women's history.

Film Details
  • Country(ies): USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2008
  • Running time: 57 minutes
  • Director(s): Susheel Bibbs
  • Producer(s): Susheel Bibbs
  • Writer(s): Susheel Bibbs
  • Cinematographer(s): J. Greenberg, Steve Barger, Ashley James, Robert Harrison, Cinematography: Aimee McKinney, Tom McGlinn, Mark Weaver, Top Hat, Green Door Productions
  • Editor(s): Tim Walton, Mark Johnson, Charles Angelis
  • Music: Susheel Bibbs, Jacqueline B. Hairston, Scott Jopli
  • Website:

FSP 771