Courtesy Holdredge Collection, San Francisco Library History Center, San Francisco Public Library

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NEW WEB SITES: Susheel has new Web sites with photos, links to videos and her works

= See the Hyers' Voices for Freedom trailer and get the DVD at www.TheHyersSisters.comHYERS Website.

=Click here for Bibbs' updated CA Film Foundation site: BIBBS' CA FILM FOUNDATION WEBSITE
Select Videos (on the left side of the page) to see all of her trailers.

Bibbs personal site with links to other sites and her song selections is still at


=Meet Mary Pleasant: Bibbs' 1 hour film, has won 6 awards. Voices for Freedom has won 7 international awards, including a Telly Award. The little Hyers film just won in the Gold Award in the Short Documentary Category for The International Documentary Film Awards and has been Selected in award contention in the Olympus Film Awards. Let's see what this little film can do!

=Voices for Freedom --The Hyers Sisters' Legacy: Next screening in San Francisco: California Historical Society, Feb. 26 at 6pm. Tickets are only $5, and here's the link for further information (Please pass the word):

Meet Mary Pleasant -- Bibbs' Touring Enactments and Musical
Susheel Bibbs is now celebrating her work on Mary Pleasant with a new tour! Proceeds witll help distribute The MEET MARY PLEASANT DVD, to schools and libraries free of charge.
Note: The email for booking is

=On March 23, 7:00 pm and March 24, 4pm -- Susheel stars again as Mary Ellen Pleasant, this time in a short introductory film followed by a screening of her acclaimed one-woman musical --O Freedom -- Meet Mary Pleasant An evening of fun and participatory history. General admission $25, Students $15.

Where? The Brickhouse Gallery and Art Complex, 3837 36th St., Sacramento, CA , Watch this site for VIP ticket information and link. Email:
Susheel will sign DVD's afterwards. A VIP reception will preceded the first night at 6pm . Reception cost TBA

Both acclaimed enactments clarify her life in a dramatic or musical and an interactive way based on Pleasant's own words. These can also become program or fundraisers for your organization. They are fun, participatory theater! Booking or information at !!
o Dramatic version: Meet Mary Pleasant --Bibbs' acclaimed live enactment (chautauqua) on Pleasant based on Pleasant's own words. Landmark historical research in an inspiring form (see article below)
o Musical version: O Freedom -- Meet Mary Pleasant -- The same inspiring story in a rousing and uplifting full musical! Bibbs sings and becomes Pleasant and does audience interaction in and out of character. . This version is preceded often by a short, introductory film

o Films:
=FILM: Meet Mary Pleasant -- Mother of Civil Rights in California (57 min) or The Legacy of Mary Ellen Pleasant (26 min)-- Both awardwinning PBS films tour in screenings. Bibbs can introduce and answer questions before a screening. Meet Mary Pleasant is now playing on PBS in HD.

=DVD: Meet Mary Pleasant is on Amazon

=Heritage of Power - Bibbs' book on Pleasant is an best seller! It's on Kindle too!

=Voices for Freedom -- The Hyers Sisters' Legacy is screening and available on DVD. It is on PBS in HD. -Website with DVD link and a promo --

-Bibbs; Hyers Voices for Freedom booklet on --

=SEE THE BRODCAST SCHEDULE for either film the PBS station in your area:

=>HELP US expand this award-winning documentary to one hour by making a Tax Deductible below. The current film is a dynamic half hour, but there is more to tell, and much is already taped!

Make your TAX DEDUCTIBLE gift here through The Living Heritage Foundation, our sponsors. Your gift will help expand the current 30 min film to an hour - (Living Heritage Foundation email--

Please Note:
=On the PayPal donation screen if you see an email, remove the sample email, and type your email in the box.
=For credit card donations, use the link below the PayPal Screen if that screen appears first
=Mailing address for donor checks payable to "The Living Heritage Foundation" with a note -- "Hyers" -- 123 Mint Leaf Way, Sacramento, CA 95838

More on Bibbs and Mary Ellen Pleasant

See Bibbs' great segment on Mary Pleasant --
=KVIE-TV did a great segment on Pleasant, featuring Susheel Bibbs
Place this link in your browser:

Get Bibbs' new DVD on 200 years of black classical song and the booklet on the spiritual
Susheel just won the first Willis Patterson award for research for the work underlying this great program (40 min), great for the classroom. Go to the "shop" tab on this site. The DVD features internatinally acclaimed artists, historical narration, montage and interviews with composers and artists.
Susheel's booklet on the Spiritual is the first booklet to use IPA and to explain dialect and cultural traditions in singing the spiritual

News from 2011-2017

=See the article from Sonoma News (entertainment section) in praise of Bibbs' Meet Mary Pleasant dramatic enactment (chautauqua)-- Click here: BIBBS CHAUTAUQUA ARTICLE or Copy this address into your browser:

Hear excerpts from Susheel's former, live concerts on YouTube:
Hear wonderful works of California, John Carter's Cantata of spirituals, Exsultae Jubilate, and more. If you remember these wonderful performances, you'll want to check this out. (1986-98). just search Susheel Bibbs, soprano on YouTube. This program won The Willis Patterson Award for research in black music in 2016, given by the International African American Artsong Alliance.

Bibbs was in Honolulu January 10-13, June 2012 and Jan. 6-7, 2014 and in 2017 there and in Maui for the Hawaii International Conference on the Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities. Watch for the new appearance in the conference on the Arts and Humanities under "Schedule."

An indexed, revised Edition of Heritage of Power is here!!!

Purchase the book or film DVD ON or in New Orleans at Voodoo Authentica (612 Dumaine St.). See it free at Julia Davis Branch Library, St. Louis, and at these libraries: Sacramento State, Bancroft at U.C. Berkeley, AAMLO in Oakland, and The San Francisco Main Library History Center. Help us give out more copies of the film and book to schools and libraries.

Help us distribute our award-winning film Meet Mary Pleasant (Mother of Civil Rights in CA) to schools colleges and libraries and restore the Pleasant memorial in San Francisco.
See the film tab for a donations link.




HERITAGE OF POWER (THE BOOK) IS NOW ENHANCED. GET ONLY THE 2012 EDITION!! -new low pricing for On-demand purchase and digital download - Kindle. Look for it. Oh, and if you like the film or book, please write a "sterling" 5-star review on the Amazon site. It helps, Thanks!

= Want the Film only? Click here or visit our shop to order: The film without bonus material
= Film with bonus interviews? -includes Louis DeCaro, Jr., Jean Libby, Mama Lola, Gwen Robinson, and others.

Archive 2011-2016-- OLD NEWS

=MEP grave marker dedicated -- 6-11-11 at 11:30 am at Napa's Tulocay Cemetery. We did it! A beautiful new stone will now grace the grave of Mary Ellen Pleasant. Thanks to all who made it possible!


Bibbs Brings Pleasant Back to the Bay Area!
Run through May 7
San Leandro Library
Mary Lee Barr, (510) 577-3971

Soprano, actress, and filmmaker Sus heel Bibbs is well-known for her enactment of Mary Ellen Pleasant, Mother of Civil Rights in California, but the Bay Area has not seen this acclaimed program for several years. On May 7 at 2 pm Bibbs will once again put on the Pleasant mantle to bring this daring woman to life for Bay Area audiences -- this time at the San Leandro Library, 300 Estudillo Ave, San Leandro, CA 94577. The one-woman show, called a chautauqua, is entitled Meet Mary Pleasant and is free to the public.

In this colorful three-part drama, Bibbs plays Pleasant in a monologue based on Pleasant's own words, then answers questions in character. After a quick change, she then appears as herself to answer the audience's questions. Says Dr. Bibbs, "It's fun, participatory history, designed for adults and teens." This is the same presentation that is excerpted in Bibbs' award-winning PBS film on Pleasant -- Meet Mary Pleasant, Mother of Civil Rights, but it has not been featured in the Bay Area since the films were released on PBS.

Mary Ellen Pleasant’s dramatic life encompassed slavery, abolition, the gold rush and the Civil War. She helped shaped early San Francisco and amassed a joint fortune once assessed at $30 million dollars! Pleasant assisted the abolitionist John Brown and is remembered in a San Francisco memorial as the Mother of Civil Rights in California.
Dr. Susheel Bibbs, for many years a lecturer at UC Berkeley, holds a Ph.D. in Communications and is an award-winning independent filmmaker. For more on Dr. Bibbs' films, on Pleasant, and on this event, see, or call the Main Library’s Information Desk at (510) 577-3971

Online flyer link:

More to come!!


MEET MARY PLEASANT (Mother of Civil Rights) has now been broadcast on 44% of all PBS stations and in Canada (2008-2010) and won a 2010 Gold Kahuna Award for Filmmaking Excellence from the Honolulu International Film Festival. Why not give a copy as a gift or donate a copy to a library or school?

This year's version contains bonus material! (click the SHOP tab)


Nov. 1, 3 pm, 2009 Screening of MEET MARY PLEASANT and talk by Susheel Bibbs: Holiday Inn Express, Elk Grove, CA (near Sacramento off Hwy 99) -- See Schedule for more detail. DVD's and books will be on sale.

BIBBS has resumed LIVE Chautauquas! BOOK NOW
Did you catch this one? Feb. 18 at San Diego City College -- Saville Theatre, 11:10 am, San Diego contact: Julie Kitterman-- To book your chautauqua, email

SCREEN THE FILM at your school, college, or organization event
Susheel Bibbs is currently touring with the film followed by a special Q & A. Other events can be scheduled around the screening as well: a PowerPoint lecture, traveling exhibit, and chautauqua "how to" workshop. To schedule a screening for your College, Museum, or organization, email

IN 2009

MEET MARY PLEASANT now on PBS nationally once again this year. Have your local station carry it.

WHY NOT GET THE NOTES? Don't forget, scholars notes and bibliography are available for Bibbs' social history on Pleasant -- Heritage of Power --by emailing


IN 2008

Bibbs wins best director award!
On June 25 Dr. Bibbs received top directing honors -- BEST DIRECTOR OF A DOCUMENTARY (of any type) at the awards ceremony held by New York International Independent Video and Film Festival. -a special surprise

The film was an official finalist at the "Sundance of black film" --The Hollywood Black Film Festival in Beverly Hills, June 08.

MEET MARY PLEASANT screens at Cannes! ITN Distribution took MEET MARY PLEASANT to screen in May 08 at the renowned Cannes Film Festival (Marche du Film) in France -- one of only five of their hundreds of films on sale there. Dr. Bibbs was on hand and the film was well received.

MEET MARY PLEASANT screens at the African Marketplace in LA!
Follow up from the Cannes screening has placed the film in the "Cinema After Dark Showcase" outdoors at the AFRICAN MARKETPLACE AND CULTURAL FAIRE held in LA August between Aug 16 and Sept. 1. Check the screening time on their site after Aug. 1 at
AfricanMarketplace Amphitheatre, 8:15pm each nightFirst AME Church and The African American Museum in LA will be community sponsors -- more to come

In St. Louis. KETC-TV teamed up with the Missouri History Museum to present a public screening and an airing of MEET MARY PLEASANT. The FREE screening was June 12, 7 pm. at the MO History Museum; Susheel was there, and a fine audience showed! The film then aired on KETC-TV (Ch. 9) on Sunday, July 6 at 9:30pm. Great event.


MEET MARY PLEASANT now on PBS nationally (distributor, NETA ) --The film is airing all over the country on PBS. Check local listings for times. If you don't see it, ask your local PBS-station programming director to carry it. Here are some CA upcoming air dates - (one hour)


In 2007

- MEET MARY PLEASANT Wins Two Film Festival Awards

MEET MARY PLEASANT, the performance documentary on Mary Ellen Pleasant by Susheel Bibbs, screened in two well-known film festivals this Fall. There are two versions of this TV documentary -- the Educator's version (41:28 min.) and the TV version for PBS (56:46 min.) both won separate awards. The PBS (long) version won BEST HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY in their LA (Hollywood) venue where it screened in The New York International Independent Film Festival (LA).

The short version won BEST OF FESTIVAL (Peace Reel Medallion) DOCUMENTARY in The Berkeley Film and Video Festival, Berkeley, CA. Kudos to technical and production professionals who helped Dr. Bibbs create these works

Three Versions of the film available on this site
Dr. Bibbs acclaimed performance as Pleasant (based on Pleasant's own words) has been interwoven into three TV performance documentaries that reveal Pleasant's story and her most important civil-rights contributions!!

No. 1 is the one-hour version PBS version with or without bonus interviews -- MEET MARY PLEASANT (Mother of Civil Rights in CA) $24.95 or $19.95. Take a look at our store. -narrated by award-winning actress Ruby Dee.

-Film only, click here or visit our shop: The film without bonus material

-Bonus interview version includes ideas from Louis DeCaro, Jr., Jean Libby, Mama Lola, Gwen Robinson, and others. Click here:

No. 2 is a 41-minute version for teachers ($19.95), called MEET MARY PLEASANT and also narrated by award-winning actress Ruby Dee. It employs East Coast, West Coast, and Canadian history and scholars as they pertain to Pleasant's story and puts it all in context -- abolition, Underground Railroad, Civil Rights, her precedent-setting court battle. Order this one on this site under "our shop"

No. 3 is a 26:46 min.version ($14.95) called THE LEGACY OF MARY ELLEN PLEASANT, narrated by Akiba Howard. Created for Viewfinder, a Sacramento PBS series, it is fast-paced look at Pleasant that focuses primarily on her great court battle in Sacramento, which altered modern-day civil rights-- includes only California scholars. Order this one on this site under "our shop"


MEET M.E.P. Archive --Scholars take note
This three-DVD archive on Pleasant documents and gives context for Dr. Bibbs work and chautauqua and features documentary evidence, commentary by noted scholars of the US and Canada, photos, and sequences on areas of controversy surrounding Pleasant's life. Visit AAMLO, TheAfrican American Museum and Library, 659 14th St. Oakland, CA to view and use it.

MEP Historic Sites
Mary Pleasant's gravesite at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa, CA, is now part of the National Parks Service's Network-to- Freedom Program.

The trees at Bush and Octavia Streets, San Francisco, are now becoming San Francisco landmarks.

Susheel is now booking her one-woman presentations of Pleasant's life for 2007-2008-- contact for bookings--dates still available.

=Dr. Bibbs' new book, which will solve the mysteries of Pleasant's life is slated for 2009! Watch for it.


Susheel offers master classes on the spiritual
Susheel was one of the first people honored with a Spirituals Heritage Keepers Award by the Friends of Negro Spirituals of Oakland, CA. The award ceremony has now become an annual event. Currently Susheel is in demand for masterclasses on the spiritual and has just presented in Hawaii. She now has a booklet available on performing the spiritual. Send for a copy
For more information on the awards, contact: Sam Edwards --

To book or get information about the chautauqua programs or exhibit here, or for any other inquiries just email us at

Archived News