Louise Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words

Produced by: 
Louis Massiah and Scribe Video Center
18 min

If she had been a bigger fan of capitalism, Louise Thompson Patterson might have been a Horatio Alger heroine, lionized today as a pioneering woman of the Harlem Renaissance and a role model for both African Americans and women of all colors. Instead she put the skills and education that she fought for and won in a racist society to work for the liberation of African Americans, the US working class, and the exploited and oppressed peoples throughout the world.

Louis Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words is a short oral history portrait tracing the life and times of Louise Alone Thompson Patterson, a civil rights and labor activist and Harlem Renaissance cultural worker who was infamously dubbed "Madame Moscow" for her unapologetic role in America's Communist movement. Her work as an activist spanned many decades, ranging from her 1930 stint as a delegate to the World Conference Against Racism and Anti-Semitism in Paris, France and active battle to save the lives of the infamous Scottsboro Boys to her involvement in the defense of Angela Davis and other Black Panthers leaders arrested during the 1960s.


- February 18, 2002 - Cinema on the Edge screening at Ithaca College's Park Hall Auditorium (Ithaca, NY)

- February 21-23, 2002 - Part of "Langston Hughes and His World: A Centennial Celebration," a Yale Department of African American Studies program (New Haven, CT)

- October 1, 2002 - Issues in Black Independent Cinema: The Documentary series at University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)

- October 17, 2005 - Screened in the Jones Room of the Woodruff Library at Emory University, followed by a panel discussion with scholars and activists, including Pattersonís daughter, Dr. MaryLouise Patterson (Atlanta, GA)

- March 10, 2006 - Part of event focusing on the work of Louis Massiah and held at Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources (Buffalo, NY)

Public Screenings, Broadcasts and Festivals: 

October 2005 - "About Arts at Emory" Artist of the Month Interview with Randall K. Burkett prior to Emory University screening of documentary