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Daughters of the Dust Details


At the turn of the century, West African slaves were brought to a small island near South Carolina to labor in the indigo trade. Isolated in the swampy atmosphere, the Gullah community was built based on ancient Yoruba traditions. They spoke in a distinct dialect, a combination of English and West African languages. This unique community is explored in Julie Dash's debut feature Daughters of the Dust, a costume drama about the Peazant family, a fictional group of Gullah natives living on Ido Landing. The secluded family experiences conflicts surrounding religion, industrialization, and tradition. The mystical matriarch Nana ([[Performer~P17529~Cora Lee Day~coraleeday]]) holds true to the beliefs of their anscestors, while Haagar ([[Performer~P50327~Kaycee Moore~kayceemoore]]) can't wait to move away. Yellow Mary ([[Performer~P53716~Barbara O~barbarao]]) returns from a life as a prostitute in Cuba with her girlfriend, and gets morally attacked by the reformed Christian Viola ([[Performer~P9115~Cheryl Lynn Bruce~cheryllynnbruce]]). Meanwhile, indifferent Eula ([[Performer~P61074~Alva Rogers~alvarogers]]) is pregnant with a baby that may or may not be the result of a rape. While the story doesn't attempt to follow a standard Eurocentric narrative, the plot revolves around a picnic on the shore in honor of the family members who chose to move to the prosperity of the north. The narrator is a spirit called the Unborn Child, who appears sometimes as a rambunctious little girl. A photographer accompanies the group to capture the events on film. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

  • Release date:January 3, 1992


Awarded by
Sundance Film Festival Julie Dash Best Cinematography - Dramatic 1990 Winner


Alva Rogers
as Eula Peazant
Barbara O
as Yellow Mary
Adisa Anderson
as Eli Peazant
Cora Lee Day
as Nana Peazant
Kaycee Moore
as Haagar Peazant
Eartha Robinson
as Myown
Bahni Turpin
as Iona Peazant
Cheryl Lynn Bruce
as Viola
Trula Hoosier
as Trula
Stanley White
as Indigo Plantation
Joe Taylor
as Peazant Man
Trula M. Marcus
as Companion
Raymond Paige
as Baptismal Procession


Julie Dash
Julie Dash
Arthur Jafa
Julie Dash
Arthur Jafa
Amy Carey
Joseph Burton
Arline Burks
Costume Designer
Veda Campbell
Sound/Sound Designer
Nandi Bowe
First Assistant Director
Larry Meistrich
First Assistant Director