“Show Up, Speak Out: The Public Life of Betty Ann Knudsen” is a documentary film that highlights the life of political activist, feminist, and former elected official Betty Ann Knudsen (1926 – 2012) who lived in Raleigh, North Carolina. The film premiered on March 16, 2009 at the Galaxy Theater in Cary, North Carolina to an enthusiastic capacity crowd of Ms. Knudsen’s family, friends, and colleagues.
The film had a second screening in June 2009 at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. An excerpt from the film as a work-in-progress was part of an earlier exhibit at Duke University, Center for Documentary Studies, from September 21, 2007 – January 8, 2008.
The film has since been screened for numerous organizations, conferences, schools and universities. Among those are the State Convention of the NC League of Women Voters; the Wake County Democratic Women’s Club Fundraiser at the Galaxy Theater in Cary, NC; Carteret County League of Women Voters; University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, School of Government; Henderson County League of Women Voters event for Women’s History Month; and for the ChathamArts Film Series in Pittsboro, NC.
In March 2011, producer/director Vivian Bowman-Edwards appeared on TARHEEL TALK, a local television news/public interest talk show moderated by Sonya Williams. Paula Wolf, a Raleigh, NC-based political consultant and lobbyist also appeared on the show. Wolf is a friend and colleague of Ms. Knudsen’s and appears in the film.
“Show Up, Speak Out: The Public Life of Betty Ann Knudsen” is part of the collection of the North Carolina State Archives.
Betty Ann Knudsen was born six years after women gained the right to vote. Her parents were staunchly-conservative Republicans but she grew up to become a liberal Democrat, a feminist, and one of the most effective grassroots organizers in North Carolina. She was the first female head of the Wake County Commission; ran for the office of NC Secretary of State in 1984; and traveled all over North Carolina training and mentoring hundreds of women who later ran and won public office or political appointments. She was inducted to the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2005 and in 2008 she earned the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in North Carolina, recognizing a lifetime of extraordinary service to the state. This film is a document and a tribute to her many accomplishments.
Many notable North Carolinians appear in the film: Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, State Treasurer Janet Cowell, all but one of the current and former female Wake County Commissioners; State Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson; political consultant Paula Wolf and many of the women who benefited from Knudsen’s leadership and guidance.
Vivian Bowman-Edwards is the producer/director of “Show Up, Speak Out: The Public Life of Betty Ann Knudsen.” For more information about the film including how to screen it for your organization/group please click on “Screen the Film” at the top of this page.