Pittsburgh – In 1968, Pittsburgh was in the midst of a building boom. Construction jobs were aplenty – except, that is, for African Americans. Black workers represented only 2 percent of the membership of the city’s building trade unions. The battle to integrate those unions paralyzed the city, grabbing national headlines and making a hero out of crane operator, Nate Smith.
"What Does Trouble Mean? Nate Smith’s Revolution," follows the life’s journey of this African American laborer and his evolution into a charismatic leader who forced integration of Pittsburgh’s construction trade unions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The 56-minute film is one of the Opening Night selections of the 29th Annual Three Rivers Film Festival, playing Friday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Ave in downtown Pittsburgh. The film will be preceded with a musical performance by Dream Job and followed with an informal Q&A with local labor and union activists featured in the film.
The latest film by the Center for Documentary Production and Study at Robert Morris University was directed by professor and Center director, Jim Seguin. It was written and produced by Erica Peiffer and Alexander Wilson, and edited by Brad Grimm - all recent graduates.
The documentary gives new life to an abundance of stunning material from local archives, including the Charles "Teenie" Harris Archive collection at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Library & Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center, the New Pittsburgh Courier, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as well as KDKA and WPXI. The film also boasts artfully performed re-enactments, produced in collaboration with Point Park University.