Kent Garrett's Films

Director in Person
Free Admission

The Harvard Film Archive is honored to welcome Kent Garrett, a Harvard alum (Class of 1963), to present a selection of his films from a long career—one with no end in site, as Garrett continues his tireless documentarian investigations of socio-political issues. In 1968, Garrett—along with William Greaves, Madeline Anderson and Charles Hobson, among others—was a founding member of WNET’s groundbreaking public affairs show Black Journal. Widely considered the first nationally televised African American series, Black Journal highlighted critical issues within the black community. One of the episodes, Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant, was conceived by Robert F. Kennedy, produced by Charles Hobson and directed by Kent Garrett to show the diverse array of families, students, artists and professionals from a neighborhood more widely known for its crime.

Two other films Kent Garrett made for Black Journal, Black GI and Black Cop, examine the outsider status accorded to those seemingly on the inside. In Black Cop, set Central Harlem at the height of the Black Power movement, a policeman’s discussion of his role in and out of uniform is contrasted with the experiences of a colleague in the LAPD. In Black GI, African American soldiers serving in Vietnam contemplate the contradiction of defending the very country that is oppressing them. Both Black GI and Black Cop portray the deep conflicts—personal and institutional—that defined a generation of black Americans and would shape racial dynamics in the country for decades. Concluding the evening will be a clip from Garrett’s latest work, The Last Negroes At Harvard, a work-in-progress that examines the lives of the nineteen African American men and women—including Garrett—who were admitted to Harvard in 1959, the largest number of African Americans who had been admitted in Harvard’s 300-year history.

Kent Garrett's films introduction and post-screening discussion with Jeremy Rossen and Kent Garrett.


  • Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant (excerpt)

    Directed by Charles Hobson.
    US, 1968-71, digital video, color, 12 min.
  • Black GI

    Directed by Kent Garrett.
    US, 1971, DCP, color, 54 min.
    DCP source: National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Black Cop

    Directed by Kent Garrett.
    US, 1969, digital video, color, 15 min.
    Copy source: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
  • The Last Negroes at Harvard (excerpt)

    Directed by Kent Garrett.
    US, work-in-progress, digital video, color, 22 min.

Part of film series

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Say It Loud!
The Black Cinema Revolution