This film relates the story of a tightly connected Afro-American community informally called Colored Town where the inhabitants live and depend on each other in a world where racist oppression is everywhere, as told by a boy called Cliff who spent his childhood there. Despite this, we see the life of the community in all its joys and sorrows, of those that live there while others decide to leave for a better life north. For those remaining, things come to a serious situation when one prominent businessman is being muscled out by a white competitor using racist intimidation. In response, the community must make the decision of whether to submit meekly like they always have, or finally fight for their rights.

  1. Clifton L. Taulbert


  2. Paul W. Cooper


  3. Tim Reid


Top Billed Cast

  1. Al Freeman, Jr.

    Al Freeman, Jr.


  2. Phylicia Rashād

    Phylicia Rashād

    Ma Ponk

  3. Paula Kelly

    Paula Kelly

    Ma Pearl

  4. Salli Richardson-Whitfield

    Salli Richardson-Whitfield

    Miss Alice (as Salli Richardson)

  5. Anna Maria Horsford

    Anna Maria Horsford

    Miss Annie

Full Cast & Crew

Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored


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Status Released

Release Information

  • January 26, 1996


Original Language English

Runtime 1h 55m

Budget -

Revenue -

Homepage -



Content Score


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