Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock

A look at the life of African American political activist and newspaper publisher Daisy Bates.

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Independent Lens
Premiere Date
February 2, 2012
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
La cruise sharon filmmaker bio

Sharon La Cruise

Sharon La Cruise has worked in television and film for 15 years, both in the corporate and production aspects of the business. She began her television career with ABC Primetime sales, working closely with the account executives and advertising agencies. Sharon has worked for The Faith Project, Blackside Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and the Cable News Network (CNN). Her credits include: This Far By Faith: African-American Spiritual Journeys; The Life of Zora Neale Hurston; and CNN's Through the Lens, The Road to the White House and The Planetary Police. She has a B.A. in history from Adelphi University, and a M.A. degree in television journalism from New York University.

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Noland Walker

Noland Walker is a writer and producer of documentary films. He wrote and co-produced Citizen King, a film that aired on American Experience; Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple, which premiered on Frontline; and Égalité for All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution. He produced and directed the second episode of the Peabody Award-winning documentary series Africans in America. He has worked as a script reader, writer, associate producer, and editor in commercial and public television. His previous production credits include Eyes on the Prize II, America’s War on Poverty, Breakthrough: The Changing Face of Science, HBO’s First Look, and ABC’s long running sitcom series Coach.

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The Film

As a black woman who was a feminist before the term was invented, Daisy Bates refused to accept her assigned place in society. Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock tells the story of her life and public support of nine black students who registered to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, which culminated in a constitutional crisis — pitting a president against a governor and a community against itself. Unconventional, revolutionary, and egotistical, Daisy Bates reaped the rewards of instant fame, but paid dearly for it.