When My Work is Over
Louise Anderson (1921-1994), the gifted African American storyteller who played Dark Sally in Tom Davenport’s children’s classic Ashpet: An American Cinderella, tells her family stories and folk tales, and recites poetry in this film taped in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in the last years of her life. She presents a powerful portrait of courage, dignity, and lively humor in the face of serious illness. Her sisters Evelyn Anderson and Dorothy McLeod join Louise in recalling their experiences growing up in the South, working in restaurants and as domestics in white households, and struggling for civil rights in the early 1960s. Together they present a warm and engaging picture of an unsung generation of Southern black women.
Louise Anderson was born in Georgia but moved with her family to North Carolina when she was three. She grew up in High Point, later moving to Jacksonville. She was influenced by a broad range of rich oral traditions, including her family’s own strong storytelling talents, African American church traditions, and the toasts, dozens, and children’s games of her community. Anderson received the NC Heritage Award in 1993. Read more at the NC Arts Council website. In Tom Davenport’s Ashpet: An American Cinderella, Anderson plays the fairy godmother character Dark Sally. Her brilliant performance helped the film win 7 first-place prizes at film festivals. (38 minutes, Color.)
Ashpet: An American Cinderella (45 minute., ages 5-adult) Directed by Tom Davenport.
Set in the rural South in the early years of World War II, Ashpet is a humorously touching version of “Cindarella.” A resourceful and beautiful girl is the lackey in the messy parvenu household of her stepmother and slothful, mean stepsisters. On the day of the Victory Dance, Ashpet is sent to the conjure-woman ‘Dark Sally” to fetch “love-sachets”for her boy-crazy stepsisters. Sally reveals the secrets of Ashpet’s heritage—“your real name is Lily—and arranges for the newly confident girl to “sparkle like a lightning bug” at the dance.
Also featured on DVD: “Making Grimm Movies” (60 min.)