Amistad Acquires the Harold Sylvester Papers

The newly-arrived papers waiting to be inventoried and reboxed.

The newly-arrived papers waiting to be inventoried and reboxed.

From New Orleans to Hollywood and back to New Orleans, the Amistad Research Center is pleased to announce the acquisition of the personal papers of film and television actor, writer, and producer Harold Sylvester.

Spanning four decades, Harold Sylvester’s career has included film roles in Corrina, Corrina (1994), Innerspace (1987), Uncommon Valor (1983), An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), and Sounder, Part 2 (1976); appearances on television shows ranging from Married…With Children to Hill Street Blues to A Different World; and the screenplay for the TV movie Passing Glory, a film that portrays the events leading up to the historic 1965 New Orleans high school basketball game between all-black St. Augustine High School and all-white Jesuit High School – a game in which Sylvester played, and a landmark moment in New Orleans Civil Rights history.
A New Orleans native, Sylvester attended Tulane University beginning in 1968 as a psychology and, later, theater major. He also parlayed his success as an athlete on the basketball court to become the university’s first African-American student to receive an athletic scholarship. He graduated from Tulane in 1972 and moved on to become active in the Free Southern Theater before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television in the mid 1970s. Since then, he has taken part in 17 feature films and over 400 television shows. Sylvester won an Emmy as Writer/Executive Producer of the TNT documentary On Hallowed Ground and made his directorial debut in 2005 with the feature film NOLA.
The Harold Sylvester papers measure approximately 30 linear feet and include correspondence, film and television scripts, materials reflecting Sylvester’s involvement with the Free Southern Theater and his Blue Bayou Productions, photographs, news clippings, and more. Amistad is delighted to add Harold Sylvester’s papers to our collections, and pleased to bring the actor and writer’s materials home to New Orleans. 
The collection is currently being inventoried, and will be open for research in the near future. Inquiries regarding the collection can be sent to the
Production stills from Uncommon Valor.

Production stills from Uncommon Valor.

A copy of Harold Sylvester's script for Passing Glory.

A copy of Harold Sylvester’s script for Passing Glory.

Posted by Brenda Flora and Christopher Harter
(Images from the Harold Sylvester Papers. May not be reproduced without permission.)

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