Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”) is in pre-production on a feature documentary about the life and works of writer, culinary anthropologist, actor, and broadcast journalist, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor. Titled “Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl,” the project has been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as part of the NEH’s mission to preserve American history and cultural heritage. It marks Dash’s first feature film since 2002’s TV movie “The Rosa Parks Story.”
Smart-Grosvenor, who died in 2016 at the age of 79, enjoyed a multifaceted career that locates her at the heart of five twentieth century movements: the Beat Literary Arts Movement, the Black Power/Black Arts Movement, New Black Cinema, and Food as Cultural Memory. She first gained attention with her 1970 book, “Vibration Cooking, or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl,” referred to as an autobiographical cookbook, using her rural Allendale County, S.C. cuisine to teach the world about the contributions made by people of African descent globally.