“No film before this one explores the transformative role that HBCUs have played in building Black political and economic strength.”
“A vivid testimonial of the power of education.
-DESERET NEWS, 2/1/17
“Tell Them We Are Rising reveals the crucial role of HBCUs not only in the identity of black Americans but in the nation as a whole. “
-THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 1/23/17
“An ambitious undertaking with remarkable archival material, interviews with historians, students, administrators, and officials, the film ties together with a straightforward oral history of HBCUs and their role in shaping American history. Tell Them We Are Rising is another vital feature from master documentarian Stanley Nelson (who last gave us The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution), exploring American stories that are not told nearly as often or with the depth and complexity they should be.”
-MONTCLAIR (NJ) REVIEW, 5/7/17
“Still, the film is exemplary in that it brings up many questions about the legacy of HBCUs in America and their precarious place as we press forward into what is now a very uncertain future. As we hear from some Florida A & M University and Howard University millennials, it is evident now more than ever that safe spaces for Black students are desperately needed. Most importantly, it is a film that reminds us that despite whatever is happening around us, we are still rising.”
-SHADOW AND ACT, 4/20/17
“Through interviews with scholars and historians as well as archival photos and footage, Tell Them We Are Rising builds the case that HBCUs are an integral, complex part of the American story, and that we can’t understand the 20th century without them.”
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“Nelson and his co-writer, Marcia Smith, begin the HBCU story in this film in the post-Civil War South and bring it up to the moment, suggesting but not naming the Black Lives Matter movement as the newest iteration in a legacy of social engagement and self-determination.”
-SYDNEYSBUZZ THE BLOG, 1/26/17
“Tell Them We Are Rising tells a story that must be told, and tells it well.”
-HAMMER TO NAIL, 1/23/17
“Stanley Nelson has become one of our most invaluable chroniclers of the black experience in America… His latest is Tell Them We Are Rising, a history and celebration of historical black colleges and universities, and as per usual, it is thoughtful, meticulous, and informative, if somewhat stylistically staid.