Daughters of the Dust is a 1991 independent film written, directed and produced by Julie Dash and is the first feature film directed by an African-American woman distributed theatrically in the United States. [1] Set in 1902, it tells the story of three generations of Gullah (also known as Geechee) women in the Peazant family on St. Helena Island as they prepare to migrate to the North on the mainland.

The film gained critical praise for its rich language, use of song, and lyrical use of visual imagery. The cast features Cora Lee Day , Alva Rogers , Barbara-O , Trula Hoosier , Vertamae Grosvenor , and Kaycee Moore and was filmed on Saint Helena Island in South Carolina . Noted for its lush visuals and non-linear storytelling, Daughters of the Dust was selected for the Sundance 1991 dramatic competition; cinematographer Arthur Jafa won the top cinematography prize. [2]

In 2004, Daughters of the Dust was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Dash has published two books related to the film: Daughters of the Dust: The Making of an African-American Woman's Film (1992), which includes the screenplay; and Daughters of the Dust: A Novel (1997), set 20 years after the events in the film. In 2016 the film was restored and re-released by the Cohen Media Group for its 25th anniversary. [3]