The Sara Spencer Washington Story

January 26, 2018 7:00 pm

Scribe Video Center

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Philadelphia PA. , January 4th, 2018 — “THE SARA SPENCER WASHINGTON STORY,” an award winning short documentary about the life of noted black businesswoman, philanthropist, and political activist Sara Spencer Washington, will have its Philly premiere as part of Scribe Video Center’s STORYVILLE documentary program. The Apex Hair and News Company had such deep “roots” in Philadelphia that a steering committee has been formed to erect a plaque at it’s Lombard Street location. Sharing the bill is “OUR SIDE – THE OTHER ATLANTIC CITY” . The two @ilms focus on Atlantic City’s historical Black community called the Northside.

In the 1920s door-to-door sales of her hair supplies in Atlantic City, New Jersey and a patented hair straightening technique led to an East Coast chain of a dozen beauty schools called Apex. (There were of@ices in Philadelphia, one in Cuba and one in Johannesburg, South Africa, as well!) Boasting thousands of sales agents by the 1940s, her factory, warehouse, guest resort, farm, drug store and publishing company led to a million dollar empire which yearly gave thousands of black women (and men) cosmetology degrees, @inancial independence and self – esteem.

“Now is the time to learn a depression-proof business” was the motto of “The Madame,” as she was called. In the 1930s she adopted her young niece Joan Cross so as to have an heir to the Apex fortune upon her death in 1953.

Interviewed are former employees, customers, models, and historians including author Nelson Johnson of Boardwalk Empire fame. They tell of The Madame’s politics as evidenced by her breaking the color barrier at Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Captain Starn’s Restaurant, sponsoring the @irst black @loat in that city’s famous Easter Parade, and creating one of the @irst black-owned golf courses on the East Coast. Sara Spencer Washington was also famous for purchasing a ten thousand dollar war bond that led to her christening the S.S. Harriet Tubman.

The half-hour documentary is directed, written and produced by Royston Scott the son of Joan Cross, the Apex heiress. The @ilm recently won Best Documentary at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, Best Short Documentary at the Harlem International @ilm Festival and Best Documentary in the Black International Cinema Berlin festival.


WATCH THE TRAILER AT: THE SARA SPENCER WASHINGTON STORY – 28 minutes- USA Scribe Video Center Friday, January 26th 7:00 pm 4035 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA Suggested donation – $ 5.00 (215) 222-4201 sara-spencer-washington-story


4212 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

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