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Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street

by Mark Lipman and Leah Mahan

The award-winning documentary about community vision, struggle, and change

Holding Ground is at once a cautionary tale of urban policies gone wrong and a message of hope for all American cities. In 1985, African-American, Latino, Cape Verdean, and European-American residents in Roxbury, MA united to revitalize their community. The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative went on to gain national recognition as residents fought to close down illegal dumps, gain unprecedented control of land from City Hall and create a comprehensive plan to rebuild the fabric of their community. Through the voices of committed residents, activists and city officials, this moving documentary shows how a Boston neighborhood was able to create and carry out its own agenda for change.

quoteThis terrific documentary--at once a moving history and a hopeful battle-cry--tells the story of a grassroots struggle to revitalize an urban neighborhood abandoned by America. The model of inter-ethnic solidarity and effective activism it presents will come like rain in a dry season to communities all over the nation.
Jonathan Kozol
Author, Death at an Early Age, Amazing Grace

quoteHOLDING GROUND powerfully captures the high moments and the drudgery of rebuilding communities. The producers have brought a strong and creative touch to their work that will leave the audience with engaging portraits of activists and doers who refuse to give in and do prevail. We come away not only with good stories, but hope. Well done.
Henry Hampton
Executive Producer and Creator, Eyes on the Prize

quoteThrough grass-roots sweat and tears, a group of ordinary people not only fight City Hall, but also persuade it to champion their stubbornly independent, neighborhood-driven approach to urban renewal...[HOLDING GROUND] has cumulative human power and, at the end, an inspirational image of what the neighborhood was and what, with toil and pride, it is becoming.
John Koch
The Boston Globe

quoteBeautifully shot, well researched, intimate and fresh, this film captures the vitality of an empowered community responding to the challenges of disinvestment, cultural differences, drugs and crime, and city politics. Its thematic chapters make wonderful catalysts for discussion.
Lillian Jimenez
Director of Media Literacy, Media Network

quoteA terrific story and a great organizing tool. Not only do we see the story unfold over a long period of time, but it is told from the point of view of the people who really did the job.
Gordon Quinn
Executive Producer, Hoop Dreams

More Reviews


  • CINE Golden Eagle
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Silver Award, WorldFest-Charleston
  • Finalist, WorldFest-Houston
  • Gold Award, Philadelphia International Film Festival
  • Advocate Journalism Award, Northampton Film and Video Festival
  • Other America Festival
  • Outstanding Video, New England Film and Video Festival Advocate Journalism Award, Northampton Film and Video Festival
  • Mill Valley Film and Video Festival
  • NEA National Medal of the Arts Nominee
  • Margaret Mead Festival Mill Valley Film and Video Festival NEA National Medal of the Arts Nominee
  • Hot Springs Documentary Festival
  • Awards Nominee, Independent Documentary Association Hot Springs Documentary Festival
  • Environmental Film Festival
  • Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
  • Grand Prize, Carolina Film Festival
  • Museum of Art, Baltimore
Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street

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Appropriate for: High School College/University

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Buy the Holding Ground/Gaining Ground dual-DVD set at a 20% discount. Just enter the code HGGG13 when adding both films to your cart.

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