Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities

  • Dites-leur que nous avançons: l'Histoire des universités [...]
Genre : Historical
Type : Documentary
Original title :
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2017
Format : Feature
Running time : 85 (in minutes)

This film & multi-platform project by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson explores the pivotal role HBCUs have played in the ascent of African-Americans.

TELL THEM WE ARE RISING: THE STORY OF BLACK COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES explores the pivotal role historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played over the course of 150 years in American history, culture, and identity. Stanley Nelson's film reveals the rich history of HBCUs and the power of higher education to transform lives and advance civil rights and equality in the face of injustice.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities is the first and only feature documentary and multi-platform project to research, gather, and share a rich mosaic of stories that relay the history of HBCUs.

The film is the centerpiece of a multi-platform effort called #HBCURising. Featuring partnerships with national organizations, high-profile events, StoryCorps audio stories, video shorts, a Homecoming college tour and an all-generation, all-school HBCU Digital Yearbook, #HBCURising will examine and celebrate the legacy of HBCUs.

A film by Stanley NELSON

USA, 2017, 85', documentary

Original Title
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities

French Title
Dites-leur que nous avançons: L'Histoire des Universités Noires aux Etats Unis


85 minutes


United States



Stanley Nelson

Marco Williams

Cyndee Readdean

Stacey L. Holman

Anne Seidlitz, Marco Williams

Firelight Films

Historically Black Colleges & Universities
Alabama A&M University | Alabama State University | Albany State University | Alcorn State University | Allen University | Arkansas Baptist College
Barber-Scotia College | Benedict College | Bennett College | Bethune-Cookman College | Bluefield State College | Bowie State University
Central State University | Cheyney University of Pennsylvania | Claflin College | Clark Atlanta University | Clinton Junior College | Coahoma Community College | Concordia College | Coppin State University | Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science
Delaware State University | Denmark Technical College | Dillard University
Edward Waters College | Elizabeth City State University
Fayetteville State University | Fisk University | Florida A&M University | Florida Memorial University | Fort Valley State University
Grambling State University
Hampton University | Harris-Stowe State University | Hinds Community College | Howard University | Huston-Tillotson University
Interdenominational Theological Center
J.F. Drake State Technical College | Jackson State University | Jarvis Christian College | Johnson C. Smith University
Kentucky State University | Knoxville College
Lane College | Langston University | Lawson State Community College | LeMoyne-Owens College | Lewis College of Business | Lincoln University | Lincoln University of Missouri | Livingstone College
Meharry Medical College | Miles College | Mississippi Valley State University | Morehouse School of Medicine | Morgan State University | Morehouse College | Morris Brown College | Morris College
North Carolina A&T University | North Carolina Central University | Norfolk State University
Oakwood University
Paine College | Paul Quinn College | Philander Smith College | Prairie View A&M University
Rust College
Saint Augustine's College | Saint Paul's College | Savannah State University | Selma University | Shaw University | Shelton State Community College | Shorter College | Southern University and A&M College | South Carolina State University | Southern University at New Orleans | Southern University at Shreveport | Southwestern Christian College | Spelman College | Stillman College
Talladega College | Tennessee State University | Texas College | Texas Southern University | Tougaloo College | Trenholm State Technical College | Tuskegee University
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff | University of the District of Columbia | University of Maryland Eastern Shore | University of Texas at El Paso | University of the Virgin Islands
Virginia State University | Virginia Union University | Voorhees College
West Virginia State College | Wilberforce University | Wiley College | Winston-Salem State University
Xavier University of Louisiana

Tell Them We Are Rising was broadcasted nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens | PBS on Monday, February 19, 2018.

2020 | 10th Festival International de Films de la Diaspora Africaine - FIFDA 2020 | Virtual Edition | Paris, France | 04-06 Sept 2020
* Official Selection

2017 | 7th Festival International de Films de la Diaspora Africaine - FIFDA 2017 | Paris, France | 08-10 Sept 2017
* Europe Premiere. In collaboration with US Embassy in Paris.

2017 | Sundance Festival, USA
* Official Selection
* World Premiere


2 files


1 files


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

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