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Richard Wormser biography

Richard Wormser has written, produced and/or directed over fifty programs for television, foundations, educational institutions, and government. He is the originator, series producer, co-director/writer of a four-part television series, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, the story of the African American struggle for freedom during the era of segregation 1880-1954. The series received national acclaim and has won the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in television programming, three national Emmy nominations, the International Documentary Association Best Series award, Cine Gold Eagle and the Chris Award. Several reviewers picked The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow as one of the ten best television programs of 2002.

Wormser has recently completed American Reds, a documentary film about the vision and blindness of the American Communist Party between 1930-1960, then the most politically radical group of its day. Members of the Party during its heyday tell the dramatic story of their struggles for workers rights and against racism and fascism in the 1930s; and their imprisonment during the McCarthy era for teaching Marxism-Leninism.

Wormser has recently received script grants on Independence: The American Revolution from Indian Country, research and development grants on James Henry Hammond, a documentary film about why and how secessionist radicals eventually led South Carolina and the South to disunion and the Civil War. He is also in development on Hoboes, a documentary film that tells the story of American hoboes between 1893 an 1929, a period in which they provided much of the migrant work force for American industry and agriculture; and in which they developed a militant and creative workers subculture.

Wormser's other films include the Emmy nominated PBS documentary Delta Dreams, the story of a dying community in the Arkansas Delta struggling to get back on its feet. He also produced, wrote, and directed Hubert's World, a film about an extraordinary mentally and physically disabled man determined to live a normal life, Rethinking Cancer, a 60-minute documentary on non-toxic ways to treat cancer for the Foundation for the Advance of Cancer Therapy (FACT); and finishing production on Lives in the Balance, a documentary that followed four, very bright, at-risk school children through middle school. With Gilles Carter, Wormser is writing and co-producing Independence: The Native American Struggle for Freedom during the American Revolution.

Wormser has written ten books for young adults on social issues including The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, Growing Up Muslim, Hoboes: Wandering in America, Lifers: Learn the Truth at the Expense of our Sorrow. He teaches at Fordham University and the University of New Haven.

Recent Films
2012-2015 American Reds is the first documentary to tell the story of the rise of the American Communist Party during the Great Depression to become the foremost radical group of the time and its near destruction during the McCarthy era when its allegiance to Stalin unleashed an anti-communist backlash throughout America. Featured in the film are men and women who were organizers in the 1930s and imprisoned in the 1950s. Bill Moyers has written: AMERICAN REDS is a valuable primer into the tragic turn of events that betrayed the hopes and aspirations of everyday working people during the great confrontation between capitalism and communism in the early 20th century. It's an important addition to public television's mission to throw light on obscured corners of our history and on the forgotten people lost in the shadows.

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For educational copies of American Reds contact First Run Features at