The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman - 1974 Civil Rights Film

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman - 1974 Civil Rights Film

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a film, adapted from a book of the same name, telling the story of a black woman that was born to parents who were slaves. The film tells of her life as a slave herself from her childhood, into adulthood, and into her elderly years where she became more involved in the civil rights movement. The film sets a tone that makes it seem almost like a documentary in parts. Especially when they show the elderly Jane Pittman. Which had me believing that she was a real person and actually around 110 years old. Cicely's excellent acting and performance in the film is deeply convincing.

Cicely Tyson Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 1974
By CBS Television (eBay itemphoto frontphoto back)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The book itself, that the movie is based on, was written by the African-American author Ernest J. Gaines. Although slavery ended long before he was born, he grew up in a poor family, who were sharecroppers. They lived in a former slave house, on a plantation, in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. His upbringing and experiences are where a lot of his inspiration for his stories came from.

In the story, she was born with the name of Ticey around the year 1850. When she was 10 years old she was given the name Jane Brown by a Union soldier who informed her that Ticey was a slave name. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1865, they left the plantation. While heading North they are attacked by a group of white men patrolling the area. Big Laura, the leader of the free slaves, and her son are killed by the men. Big Laura's other son, Ned, survives and Jane raises him as her own child. She wanted to make it to Ohio but didn't feel she could make it to the state. So she took up paid work at Mr. Bone's plantation. She worked on that plantation for twelve years.

In September of 1873, Ned moved out of the house and moved to Kansas to get away from the danger presented by racists who were after him. While in Kansas he joins the army. After Ned left, Jane meets Joe Pittman and they get married. The couple moves to a ranch on the Texas-Louisiana border where Joe has found a job at.

Three years later, in June of 1876, Joe Pittman dies after a tragic accident that occurred while he was trying to recover a horse that got loose.

To see the rest of the book/movie's time, see the visual timeline at Jane Pittman Timeline


The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman


Cicely Tyson Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 1974
The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a 1974 film, based on a book, about a black woman's life from slavery to the Civil Rights era.

Directed by: John Korty
Starring: Cicely Tyson, Richard Dysart, Odetta Holmes