Beauty Leaves the Bricks

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In 1980, Beauty in the Bricks documented the lives of four African American teenage girls who were intimate friends growing up in a Dallas housing project known as “the Bricks.” It captured their hopes and dreams while presenting a realistic and positive portrait of their lives.

Fifteen years later, Beauty Leaves the Bricks picks up with these same four young women and the advisor who had a lasting impact on their lives. It shows where they have been, where they are today, and how their life experiences have changed them. Their former mentor provides a unique perspective on the effects of growing up in the projects.

The video visits with each young woman today as she struggles with the demands of children, husband, parents, and careers. In their own words, the young women explore how living in poverty affected their life choices, and how sometimes dreams, friendships, and spirituality, if not sacrificed, are altered in the growth process. They reveal a positive side of the projects, the neighborhood that nurtured them and which made it painful for some of them to leave. Scenes from the original film are interwoven with the contemporary video footage to connect the past with the present.

For these young women a neighborhood Girls Club offered a center to their lives, providing them with not only a sense of community but also a sense of space in which each could find and develop their talents and a sense of self-worth. As they speak, we see the value of family to these young women and hear how they are trying to pass what was important in their own lives on to their own children.


  • CINE Golden Eagle


“This is a ‘see again and again documentary…a success story seldom told.” – Video Rating Guide for Libraries

“Superb content! It shows everything a girl growing up in a public housing project is all about and at the same time the dignity they maintain.” – Leslie Linton, Girls Inc. Executive Director

” …challenges just about every stereotype out there in out society about young African American females from the ‘projects-public housing’.” – Joseph Hawkins, Evaluation Specialist, Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools

“A great teaching tool. It gives a voice to women we don’t ever hear from. This film puts a human face to people from the projects.” – Barbara Cambridge, Associate Professor and Social Worker

“An inspirational video for everyone.” – School Library Journal

“An inspiring choice for community leaders and teenagers, especially those in similar circumstances.” – Booklist