East County News Service
April 17, 2017 (San Diego) – On April 29th at 1 p.m., 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 San Diego premiere as part of the San Diego Black Film Festival.
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 offices in Cuba and Johannesburg, South Africa, as well!) Boasting tens of 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 some men) cosmetology degrees and financial independence.
“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 first black float in that city’s famous Easter Parade, and creating one of the first 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 film recently won Best Documentary at the Hollywood Black Film Festival and will be screening in the Black International Cinema Berlin festival in May.
WATCH THE TRAILER AT: www.sswmovie.com
THE SARA SPENCER WASHINGTON STORY - 28 minutes- USA
San Diego Black Film Festival
Saturday, April 29th, 2017
Historical Shorts Package
AMC Fashion Valley 18
7037 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
The festivals runs April 27-30. For tickets or information on additional films, see www.sdbff.com