National Archives Microfilm Publication M999 Roll 34: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands: Six Miles from Springfield on the Franklin Road streaming
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This film by Kara Walker takes its title and narrative from documents in the Freedman Bureau’s archive and uses her trademark cut-paper silhouettes to animate the disturbing story of an African American family. Controlled by the sticks and strings of their human operators, including the artist herself, the figures moving within a shadow puppet-like theater space remind us of the manipulation of historical oppression and the powerlessness of the oppressed while also emphasizing the theatricality of the film itself. Themes of race, gender, sexuality, and violence intersect and unfold on Kara Walker’s multi-colored stage.