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2012 Archives

SMU’s Central University Libraries digitize African-American films

SMU Film Professor Rick Worland talks about the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection with WFAA's Good Morning Texas.

February 29, 2012

SMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL) announce the digitization of the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection and Carib Gold (1956). CUL has currently placed Carib Gold and six films from the Tyler collection into the digital collection, with the remainder to be posted by mid-March.

The G. William Jones Film & Video Collection of the Hamon Arts Library is the repository of the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection. Carib Gold (1956) is one of numerous other African-American films held by the Jones Collection.

The Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection is comprised of six short subjects, nine features, and a set of newsreels, all produced between 1935 and 1956. The African-American films include comedies, dramas, news, and musical performances and were made outside the Hollywood system by pioneering directors and producers such as Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, and William Alexander. Many of the Tyler films are also available on a DVD set; visit for details.

Carib Gold (1956), an African-American crime drama set among the shrimpers of Key West, starring Ethel Waters and Cicely Tyson, is notable for its documentation of the Key West waterfront and shrimping fleet as they existed over a half century ago.

The Jones Collection was established in 1970 by Dr. G. William Jones, an SMU Professor of Cinema and Video. Originally known as the Southwest Film/Video Archives, the Collection was renamed in 1995 in memory of Dr. Jones. The Collection contains more than 9,000 film prints and negatives in all formats and more than 3,000 videotapes stored in a climate-controlled facility. Print materials and antique film equipment are also part of the collection.

Among the Collection’s moving image holdings are feature films, news film and video, animation classics, documentaries, television series, and student films. For more information on the collection, visit

These films along with all of CUL’s 32 digital collections can be viewed at

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