Collection ID: COL 26
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Collection context


St. Clair Bourne
Contains the creative printed works of, and clippings and articles pertaining to, St. Clair Bourne and his works.
2 Boxes
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[item], St. Clair Bourne Collection, Special Collection SCB, Black Film Center & Archive, Indiana University, Bloomington.


Biographical / Historical:

St. Clair Bourne was born on February 16, 1943 in Harlem, New York. While attending Georgetown University in the 1960s, he became active in the peace movement and left college to join the Peace Corps. Stationed in Lima, Peru, Bourne became something of a local celebrity when he took on the editing and publishing duties of the Spanish newspaper El Comeno. His work on the paper led to him being written up in a feature article in Ebony magazine.

After his service, Bourne attended Syracuse University where he graduated in 1967 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science. On a scholarship, Bourne continued his education at the Columbia University Graduate School for Arts where he studied filmmaking. He was expelled, however, after his involvement in a peace movement demonstration ended in the takeover of the administration building.

Not long after leaving the University, Bourne was recommended to executive producer, William Greaves, to work on a series called The Black Journal (notable for becoming the first black public affairs television series in the United States) for public television. Bourne started on the series as an associate producer and quickly worked his way up to full producer status. In his three year tenure on the series, Bourne helped the program win an Emmy award and earned himself a John Russworm Citation for Excellence in Broadcasting.

Bourne left the program in 1971 to seek greater challenges and more creative freedom. To this end, he formed his own production company, Chamba. With Chamba, Bourne wrote, produced, and directed award winning and highly acclaimed features and documentaries, such as the 1973 documentary Let the Church Say Amen!. In 1972 Bourne became publisher of the highly regarded newsletter Chamba Notes.

Bourne continued to work in film until his death in 2007.

Scope and Content:

The St. Clair Bourne Collection serves to collect and preserve the creative printed works of filmmaker St. Clair Bourne as well as maintain an archive of clippings and articles pertaining to Bourne and his various works. The collection is divided into two major series: works that have been produced by St. Clair Bourne and works that have been produced about St. Clair Bourne. Works about St. Clair Bourne includes articles discussing general aspects of Bourne's life and career, including specific projects that he worked on.

Acquisition information:
The collection was donated in September 2002 .
Processing information:

Processed by BFCA staff.

General note:

In 2022, the Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A) transitioned to its current name, the Black Film Center & Archive (BFCA). This finding aid was created under the organizational name Black Film Center/Archive. Upon this organizational name change, all previous references to the BFC/A were updated in this finding aid to match the current name, Black Film Center & Archive.



This collection is open for research.


Photocopying permitted only with permission of the Archivist.


[item], St. Clair Bourne Collection, Special Collection SCB, Black Film Center & Archive, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Indiana University Bloomington
1320 East Tenth Street
Herman B Wells Library, Room 044
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000, United States
Indiana University Bloomington