Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored
Tim Reid's 1995 film ONCE UPON A TIME...WHEN WE WERE COLORED based on Clifton L. Taulbert's book and featuring Phylicia Rashad, Leon, and Isaac Hayes is our next Rialto Recommends. It's 1946 in Mississippi, and young Cliff (Charles Earl Taylor Jr.), living under the care of great-grandfather Poppa (Al Freeman Jr.) and great-grandmother Ma Pearl (Paula Kelly), is starting to notice the world around him. But it isn't a pretty one for blacks in the South, and over the span of 16 years, Cliff gets introduced to segregation and sadness. But hope finally arises when his close-knit community bands together to fight for civil rights in a nonviolent way. In his four star review Roger Ebert raved "Rarely has a film more movingly shown how people who work, live and pray together can find a common strength and self-respect." While Variety wrote that the "film as a whole stands as a significant effort to "correct" black history by recording its rich traditions and celebrate unadorned heroes who have inspired black youngsters and paved the way for the civil-rights movement." ONCE UPON A TIME...WHEN WE WERE COLORED isn't on a majority of the streaming services which is unfortunate, especially in Black History Month.