Carroll Parrott Blue

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Carroll Parrott Blue
Carroll Parrott Blue

August 23, 1943
Houston, Texas, U.S.
DiedDecember 11, 2019 (aged 76)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Alma materBoston University (BA), UCLA (MFA)
Known fordocumentary film, interactive multimedia art
MovementL.A. Rebellion

Carroll Parrott Blue (August 23, 1943 – December 11, 2019) was an African-American filmmaker, director and author noted for her documentary film and interactive multimedia works, particularly for her project "The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing".[1] She lived and worked in Houston, Texas.[2]

Early life[edit]

Carroll Parrott Blue was born on August 23, 1943 in Houston, Texas[2] and grew up there. Growing up, Blue's mother Mollie Carroll Parrott worked with and for organizations such as Negro YWCA, Garden Club, Texas Negro Democratic party, and many church groups that fought for civil rights during the Civil Rights Era.[3]


Blue received her Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Boston University (1960-1964).[4] She earned her Master in Fine Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles (1976-1980).[4]


Carroll Parrott Blue's documentary works have focused on women of the African Diaspora and visual arts themes.[2] Blue's multimedia participatory projects developed out of her documentary work. Her autobiographical "The Dawn at my Back", a work that combines film, text and hypermedia form, gave rise to "The Dawn Project" and "Third Ward Storymapping".[5]

Her work is heavily concentrated in documentaries, African American Cinema and digital community-based media.[4] However, Blue did get involved in television. Blue’s television programs includeVarnette’s World: A Study of a Young Artist (1979), Smithsonian World (“Nigerian Arts-Kindred Spirits,” 1996) and NOVA (“Mystery of the Senses: Vision,” 2007).[6]

Blue was part of the L.A. Rebellion filmmaking movement (1967-1989), alongside Julie Dash, Charles Burnett, Jamaa Fanaka, Haile Gerima, Billy Woodberry, Barbara McCullough, Ben Caldwell, Alile Sharon Larkin, and Larry Clark.[7] The L.A. Rebellion filmmakers worked against Hollywood's negative perspective of black people in starring realistic, anti-stereotype characters in their works. Filming African Americans in their communities was an important aspect of this work, as Zeinabu Irene Davis stated in 2014 the "goal was and is to represent, reflect on, and enrich the day-to-day lives of people in our own communities."[8]

Blue's documentary Conversations with Roy DeCarava (1983) is a highly respected piece in the Los Angeles School. This documentary looks at DeCarava's work and life in Harlem.[7]

The Dawn at My Back: A Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing, (2003) is a book, DVD-ROM and website.[9] It explores Blue's family history and the history of Houston's black community.[9] It won the Sundance Online Film Festival Jury Award in 2004 and was also named one of the 30 best American Association of University Press publications by the American Library Association in that year.[1][10]

Blue was passionate about transforming Houston and founded SEHTA, the Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance.[11] From 2006 through 2015, Blue was a research professor at the University of Houston.[12] While at the University of Houston, she applied for a National Endowment for the Arts "Our Town" grant application to encourage people in the art and architecture field to improve the community.[11] She was awarded $100,000 for this pursuit.[12] In Blue's pursuit of making change in the Southeast Houston area, her work consisted of storytelling, interactive multimedia, public art and design.[11] SEHTA tells the community's story by capturing the voices from the community while merging the objective facts of this community to reach her audience of academics, developers and donors.[11]


"The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Texas Upbringing" won the 2004 Sundance Online Film Festival Viewers Award in the New Forms Gallery category.[13]

She was appointed a World Academy of Art and Science Fellow in 2007.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]

Carroll Parrott Blue has produced, directed and written films including those listed in the table below:[14]

Title Year Director Producer Writer Notes
"Nova" Mystery of the Senses: Vision 1995 Yes No No Documentary
Smithsonian World’s Nigerian Arts-Kindred Spirits 1990 Yes Yes No Documentary
Conversations with Roy DeCarava 1983 Yes No No Short documentary
Varnette's World: A Study of a Young Artist 1979 Yes No No Short

Selected publications[edit]

In Blue's work as an author she blends text with graphics and stills.[1]

Blue’s poem titled Sometimes a poem is Twenty Years of Memory: 1967-1987, showcases a few of her experiences early and throughout her career within those years. It explores how the interaction of her race, gender and community interact with her work in the film industry. It details good and bad experiences throughout.[15]


Blue died on December 11, 2019, as reported in the Houston Defender. Her cause of death is unknown.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "L.A. Rebellion: Caroll Parrott Blue". UCLA Film & Television Archive. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Brownlee, Andrea Barnwell; Oliver, Valerie Cassel (2008). Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women and the Moving Image Since 1970. Contemporary Art Museum Houston. pp. 153–154. ISBN 0295988649.
  3. ^ ]Gray, Lisa. 2018. "Woman's Goal: Transformation Of Southeast Houston". Houston Chronicle, , 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Carroll Parrott Blue". L.A. Rebellion.
  5. ^ Gubrium, Aline; Harper, Krista (2013). Participatory Visual and Digital Methods. Routledge. p. 147. ISBN 9781598744897.
  6. ^ a b "Carroll Parrott Blue".
  7. ^ a b Bobo, Jacqueline. 2013. Black Women Film And Video Artists. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. p.28
  8. ^ Davis, Zeinabu Irene (2014). "Keeping the Black in Media Production: One L.A. Rebellion Filmmaker's Notes". Cinema Journal. 53 (4): 157–161. doi:10.1353/cj.2014.0054. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b Blue, Carroll Parrott. 2003. The Dawn At My Back. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  10. ^ Gray, Lisa. 2018. "Woman's Goal: Transformation Of Southeast Houston". Houston Chronicle, , 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d "Southeast Houston Arts Initiative".
  12. ^ a b ]Gray, Lisa. 2018. "Woman's Goal: Transformation Of Southeast Houston". Houston Chronicle, 2018.
  13. ^ "Sundance Awards 2004 Winners(3)". NewBay Media, LLC. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Carroll Parrott Blue"., Inc. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  15. ^ Blue, Carroll Parrott. 2018. "Sometimes A Poem Is Twenty Years Of Memory: 1967-1987". Sage Women's Educational Press 4 (1): 37-39.
  16. ^ "Carroll Parrott Blue remembered for neighborhood commitment". Defender News Service. Retrieved 31 December 2019.

External links[edit]