Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Local Labor Leader Honored Via Film

The legacy of the recently deceased Nate Smith, one of the most famous labor and civil rights leaders from Pittsburgh, will live on in the form of a documentary. The film titled, "What Does Trouble Mean? Nate Smith's Revolution," will be shown at the Elsie Hillman Auditorium at the Hill House Thursday, April 7th by Robert Morris University Center for Documentary Production and Study.

Smith died at age 82 on April 1st from Alzheimer's disease, and was well-known in the area for his activism for equal working rights for African Americans and integration of Pittsburgh's construction trade unions in the 1960s and 1970s. Smith led thousands of marchers protesting the lack of inclusion of minorities in the construction of the U.S. Steel Building and Three Rivers Stadium. He is known for lying down in front of a bulldozer to halt construction. Erica Peiffer, who wrote and produced the film with Alexander Wilson, says that she was inspired by Smith from day one.

"Not knowing what I was getting into, I went into the studio and helped with the interview and as I was listening to what Nate Smith was saying in response to the questions I just became really interested in his life."

The project took five years to complete and Peiffer says that her overall goal has a certain target audience.

"I just wanted to inspire other people, especially young people, to be interested in issues, to get involved, and to find something they're really passionate about."

Smith's hour-long documentary viewing will be free and open to the public. A dinner reception will begin at 5:30 and film screening at 6:00. More information about the film can be found at

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