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Say Brother; Great, Great Grandmothers

Part of Say Brother.


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Say Brother
Great, Great Grandmothers
Program Number


Series Description

Say Brother is WGBH's longest running public affairs television program by, for and about African Americans, and is now known as Basic Black. Since its inception in 1968, Say Brother has featured the voices of both locally and nationally known African American artists, athletes, performers, politicians, professionals, and writers including: Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Thomas Atkins, Amiri Baraka, Doris Bunte, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farrakhan, Nikki Giovanni, Odetta Gordon, Henry Hampton, Benjamin Hooks, Jesse Jackson, Hubie Jones, Mel King, Eartha Kitt, Elma Lewis, Haki Madhubuti, Wallace D. Muhammad, Charles Ogletree, Babatunde Olatunji, Byron Rushing, Owusu Sadaukai, and Sonia Sanchez. Series release date: 7/15/1968

Program Description

Blues singers Elizabeth Cotten and "Mother" Esther Mae Scott talk with Topper Carew about their music and perform in this one hour program. Elizabeth Cotten, in her early eighties at the time of appearance, performs her famous folk song "Freight Train" and "Shake Sugaree" (using her distinctive left-hand style of guitar playing known as "Cotten pickin'") and Esther May Scott (also in her early eighties) performs covers by Bessie Smith and Leadbelly. Both musicians were active participants in blues festival circuits at the time of the interview and were recognized as grandmothers by the Black community.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


African American musicians
African American women
Cotten, Elizabeth
African American singers
Women blues musicians
Scott, Esther Mae, 1893-1979
Blues (Music)
Race and Ethnicity
Topper Carew (Producer)
White, Conrad (Director)
Barrow-Murray, Barbara (Associate Producer)
Jones, Vickie (Associate Producer)
Johnson, Henry (Filmmaker)
Carew, Topper (Host)
Chicago: “Say Brother; Great, Great Grandmothers,” 11/01/1973, GBH Archives, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Say Brother; Great, Great Grandmothers.” 11/01/1973. GBH Archives. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Say Brother; Great, Great Grandmothers. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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