Tells the story of Sadie and Bessie Delany, two African-American (they preferred "colored") sisters who both lived past the age of 100. They grew up on a North Carolina college campus, the daughters of the first African-American Episcopal bishop, who was born a slave, and a woman with an inter-racial background. With the support of each other and their family, they survived encounters with racism and sexism in their own different ways. Sadie quietly and sweetly broke barriers to become the first African-American home-ec teacher in New York City, while Bessie, with her own brand of outspokenness, became the second African-American dentist in New York City. At the ages of 103 and 101, they told their story to Amy Hill Hearth, a white New York Times reporter who published an article about them. The overwhelming response launched a bestselling book, a Broadway play, and this film.
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years is a 1999 American television movie directed by Lynne Littman. The film is an adaptation of the 1993 New York Times bestselling oral history written by Sarah L. Delany, A. Elizabeth Delany, and journalist Amy Hill Hearth. The telefilm adaptation was written by Emily Mann, who also adapted the book to the Broadway stage. The film first aired on CBS on April 18, 1999, just three months after Sadie died. The daughters of a former slave who became the first Black person elected Bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States, the sisters were Civil Rights pioneers but were unknown until journalist Amy Hill Hearth interviewed them for a feature story in The New York Times in 1991. The sisters were then 100 and 102 years old. Sadie, the older of the sisters, was the first Black person permitted to teach Domestic Science at the high school level in the New York City public schools. Bessie was the second black woman licensed to practice dentistry in New York State. The biopic deals with the trials and tribulations they faced during a century of life. The sisters share their stories with Ms. Hearth, the journalist. Pivotal scenes are re-enacted through flashbacks.