The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a 1971 novel by Ernest J. Gaines. The book was made into an award-winning television movie, broadcast on CBS in 1974. The film holds importance as one of the first films to deal with African-American characters with depth and sympathy. It preceded the ground-breaking television miniseries Roots by four years.
The story depicts the struggles of African Americans as seen through the eyes of the narrator, a woman named Jane Pittman. She tells of the major events of her life from the time she was a young slave girl in the American South at the end of the Civil War. The film culminates with her joining in the American civil rights movement in 1962 at age 110.
The movie was directed by John Korty and the screenplay was written by Tracy Keenan Wynn. It starred Cicely Tyson in the lead role, as well as Richard Dysart and Odetta. The film was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The movie was notable for its use of very realistic special effects makeup by Stan Winston and Rick Baker for the lead character, who is shown from ages 19 to 110. The TV movie is currently distributed through Classic Media.