Frances E. Williams, Actress, Activist, Organizer, Community Worker was one of the most colorful and knowledgeable stage and screen personalities of our time. Perhaps best known for the role of Miss Marie on the television series, Frank’s Place in the late 1980’s, Williams’s acting career spanned more than six decades beginning in the 1920’s at Karamu House, the oldest black theater in the United States, through stage, screen, and television. In addition to studying theater in Moscow in the 1930, she
* became the first black woman to run for the California State Assembly in 1948 on the Progressive ticket.
* traveled and performed throughout Europe and Africa.
* appeared in over one hundred stage, screen, and television productions.
* represented the World Peace Council at the first Angola Independence Celebration in 1975.
* co founded the Art Against Apartheid Movement in Los Angeles in the 1980’s.
Frances fought continuously to expand and elevate the roles portrayed by African American actors and other minorities in Hollywood. Whether working as an actor in film, as wardrobe mistress on stage productions, or as the Assistant Director on the landmark film Salt of the Earth, she was always attuned to injustices and didn’t hesitate to voice her disapproval. As a result, while she made many in authority uncomfortable, she had a host of friends among whom were Paul Robeson, W.E.B.DuBois, Langston Hughes and many more. Her motto Meet it, Greet it, and Defeat it! sums up the rich life of this fantastic lady.
Well! This morning, 13th November 2017, Film 4 (a TV station in the UK) showed “The Reckless Moment”, Frances’ 1949 film, starring Joan Bennett and James Mason.
Frances played the uncredited role of Sybil, the angelic maid, and it was through this film that curiosity about Frances led me to your site, which is fascinating.
Frances sounds like a fantastic person.
thank you for your comment. Frances was a fascinating person. I’m aware of the film you commented on. She told me how she had worked to changed her role a bit.