‘Paris is Burning,’ ‘Putney Swope’ Among Films Selected for National Film Registry

By Sameer Rao Dec 15, 2016

Seminal films examining the vibrancy and struggles of communities of color feature among the 25 films inducted into the National Film Registry for 2016. 

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the list of inductees yesterday (December 14). Per the National Film Preservation Act, each of the 25 annually-selected films must be at least 10 years old and be regarded as "culturally, historically or aesthetically" important. 

Works inducted include: 

  • "Paris is Burning," a 1990 documentary exploring New York City’s ballroom and voguing dance culture through the eyes of the Black and Latinx LGBTQ community members that founded it
  • "Blackboard Jungle," a 1955 drama about racial tensions in an impoverished city school that helped raise actor Sidney Poitier’s ("In the Heat of the Night") public profile 
  • "Putney Swope," a 1969 satire about a Black executive who replaces all but one White employee and confronts corporate racism after his accidental appointment to his company’s board chair
  • Various silent documentaries from Solomon Sir Jones, an early pioneer of amateur filmmaking, that capture unique portraits of Southern Black communities’ cultural and social vibrancy in the 1920s

Read the full list here.