The Barber of Birmingham

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The Barber of Birmingham

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement is a documentary short film produced and directed by by Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday and released in 2011. Filmed on location in Birmingham, it relates the story of barber and Civil Rights veteran James Armstrong, and his joy at the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first African-American president in 2008.

The film premiered as an official selection at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Sundance, Colorado and had special screenings at the Alabama Theatre and Selma's Performing Arts Center that March. It won top prize at the Ashland, Oregon Independent Film Festival later that year and was nominated for "Best Documentary Short" at the 2012 Academy Awards. The film aired nationally on PBS as part of the POV series on August 9, 2012.

A special Birmingham screening is planned for the 50th anniversary of the Birmingham Campaign in March 2013. A Kickstarter campaign to fund distribution of the film on DVD was successful.


  • Carlton, Bob (March 2, 2011) ""The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement" film to be screened at Alabama Theatre." The Birmingham News

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