Causey revisits her Southern roots and looks at the region’s powerful political influence and how it “steadily, deliberately and at times secretly, established white privilege in our institutions, laws, culture and economy.”
Q: What prompted the film?
Growing up in the south, I witnessed terrible acts of anti-black racism and also the effects of systemic racism, mainly in the form of grinding poverty in the African-American community. I wanted to understand how this could have happened in the U.S., so I began at the beginning — our terrible slave-owning past. I made the film that I never could find.
Q: Most films on race focus on “the black experience.” You turn the tables, and it’s uncomfortable for white people. Was that the goal?Green Valley News
The Long Shadow: Berkeley director Frances Causey digs deep into the roots of slavery and racism in this informative, powerful documentary.David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
This African-American history lesson covers a lot – from the early colonies to the 21st century – in 87 minutes. It comes from an interesting point of view: Director Frances Causey is a white descendant of slave owners who had to learn on her own to reject the myth of the Lost Cause. Although conventionally made, this documentary makes a strong argument that black Americans have been and still are intentionally pushed down by the system. The problem, of course, is that the people who need to see this film will never see it – and if they did, they’d reject it.Lincoln Spector, Bayflicks
This new documentary film summarizes, illustrates and connects one of the principal structural elements of American society… since the country began over 300 years ago. It is told through the discoveries of two white southern and privileged women who grew up uncomfortably aware of their own advantage in the long shadow of a disproportionately large disadvantaged population, that of the African Americans.Sydney Levine, SydneysBuzz The Blog
If you want to know the true hidden history of the evil that slavery cast over America, and how it continues to this day, you must watch this movie.Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Program
Causey is haunted by slavery’s legacy. She passionately seeks the hidden truth and the untold stories.Eat Drink Films
Ripping a story from her family history that could be splattered on today’s front pages is Frances Causey’s The Long Shadow, which tells a tale about her slave-owning ancestors. “My family’s personal connection to slavery made me part of the story,” she says. “(One of my uncles) was a ‘founding father’ and the revolutionary governor of Virginia and was responsible in large part for codifying slavery into American law.”Mal Karman, Pacific Sun
Written and directed by a white woman who was born and raised in the south, the film is a first hand look at the racial divide in our country.Nathaniel Muir, Movie Editor – AiPT!
MVFF has established itself as a prime showcase for new Bay Area documentaries. This year’s highlights include Frances Causey’s history of slavery and racism, The Long Shadow.Michael Fox, KQED
More than anything, The Long Shadow is an excellent educational resource. It should be mandatory viewing in every AP US History classroom and on the syllabus for every introductory history course. The film is especially perfect for student viewers: it uses individual stories to personalize history, enlists engaging experts, and utilizes stirring visuals to animate the past. This doc is a teacher’s dream.Sophia Stewart, Nonfics
Causey utilizes a goodly number of academics to give some context to history and some of them, particularly John Powell (an expert on the effects of slavery on American society), historian Jody Allen (somewhat incongruously interviewed on the serene campus of the College of William and Mary considering the subject) and historian Leon Litwack who won a Pulitzer Prize on the subject.Carlos de Villalvilla, Cinema365
In this compelling documentary getting its world premiere at MVFF, Berkeley filmmaker Frances Causey revisits her Southern heritage to explore the evolution of slavery and expose the racism that festers today. Shadow is a gripping personalized history lesson, with Causey covering salient points, including how economics drove the despicable trading of humans. Her of-the-moment feature couldn’t be more necessary.Randy Myers, Mercury News
The Long Shadow” takes an uncompromising look at America’s original sin—slavery—and traces its history from the country’s founding to the racial divisions that still plague us in the present day.Lenard Lopate, At Large
The film follows the politics of slavery and the dynamics of oppressing people of color using techniques developed and long used in the South.Geoff Burton, Flix & Feast
Justice delayed documentary…examining the continued discrimination against African-Americans in the U.S. from emancipation to the present.Kam Williams, Kam On Film – The Aquarian Weekly
Combining an excellent selection of archival materials with new interviews, Causey presents an eloquent argument regarding a persistent flaw in America’s democratic dream… Recommended.Video Librarian , Considered The #1 Voice In The Educational Media Marketplace
Tynesha Jointer of Chicago said the film, which explores how slavery became integral to U.S. history and development and how racism still underpins the nation, hit home.Kathy Routliffe, Chicago Tribune
Causey deserves real credit for reckoning not only with America’s legacy of slavery and prejudice, but also examining her own ancestors’ specific roles in the racist treatment of African Americans.Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
The Long Shadow is a moving personal and informative history of anti-Black racism in the US packed with revealing details and analysis and leading us towards understanding, healing, and commitment to work for racial justice. A must see for white people concerned about racial equity and social justice.Paul Kivel, Educator, Activist, and Writer