Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored is a film directed by Tim Reid and the screenplay was written by Paul W. Cooper. The film is based on Clifton Taulbert’s real life and his nonfiction book Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored. The film plays out Taulbert’s life.
The film depicts the life of Taulbert from being a child targeted by the Ku Klux Klan at one point in his childhood to a young adult leaving his hometown for a better chance at living a better life that would not be achievable in the South.
The film takes place in Glen Allan, Mississippi, during the mid-1900s. In the early stages of the film, the audience gains more knowledge regarding Cliff’s upbringing. His biological mother was too young to take care of him and was not able to provide Cliff with financial support therefore he was raised by his extended family. Ma Pearl and Poppa begin to take care of him but after a couple of years, Ma Ponk begins to take care of Cliff and ultimately raises him, with the help of Poppa. Ma Pearl’s character is played by Paula Kelly, and Ma Ponk’s character is played by Phylicia Rashad.