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Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (1999)

2:06 | Trailer
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 ... See full summary »


Lynne Littman


Sarah L. Delany (book), A. Elizabeth Delany (book) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Diahann Carroll ... Sadie Delany
Ruby Dee ... Annie Elizabeth 'Bessie' Delany
Amy Madigan ... Amy Hill Hearth
Lisa Arrindell ... Sadie in her 20s (as Lisa Arrindell Anderson)
Audra McDonald ... Bessie in her 20s
Mykelti Williamson ... Papa Delany
Lonette McKee ... Mama Delany
Richard Roundtree ... Booker T. Washington
Della Reese ... Martha Logan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ahmond Ahmond ... Henry Delany
Cameron Arnett ... Lemuel
Nate Bynum
Thomas Clark Thomas Clark ... Lucious
Sharlease Collier Sharlease Collier ... Church goer
Brandon Crawford ... Bag Boy


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. Written by Tommy Peter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

18 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Having Our Say See more »

Filming Locations:

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Diahann Carroll, who plays Sadie Delany the elder sister is actually nine years younger than 'Ruby Dee', who plays Bessie Delany, the younger sister. See more »


Annie Elizabeth 'Bessie' Delany: We are not old maids, we are maiden ladies.
See more »

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User Reviews

Sublime Dignity Earned Through The Suffering Of Untold Dignities
23 January 2005 | by herb_at_qediSee all my reviews

The autobiography on which this movie is based remains one of the most heart-rending books I have ever read. It tells the amazing stories of two sisters, both who earned devotion and respect working well into their 70's as a teacher and a dentist, then lived another 30 years with dignity. Ruby Dee steals the film with her perfectly nuanced performance as the rebellious "blacker" Bessie, the dentist. She not only expresses her anger, angst, and wisdom well; she lets you know exactly where they've come from using an economy of words. Diahnn Carroll has the feel of the older sister, the teacher, down perfectly, but I'm afraid she never makes me believe that she's over 100. No matter -- the stories are well worth telling. Amy Madigan is a bit too extreme and intrusive in acting overwhelmed and insecure in the first half of the movie as the Caucasian NY Times reporter. This, too, is only a minor distraction. The stories, all true, are the attraction and although two or three get slightly damaged in the translation, most of them make it through just fine.

I recommend the book as essential reading to all people I recommend any books to. I cannot quite but this TV-movie in that rarefied air, but it certainly captures enough of the flavor to be highly worthwhile in its own right.

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