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Thursday, April 29, 2010

WVLK Radio interview on "Before the Memories Fade" documentary.

Today I was interviewed live on the radio station WVLK 590am in Lexington, Kentucky. I was interviewed by radio jock Dave Kesling from noon until 1pm. This was the first time that I've done an hour long interview and it was a great experience. Dave was great! The interview had an easy flow.

We started the interview off by talking about how I got into the news business and my different experiences working for Washington, D.C. news bureaus. I talked about covering
events from President George Bush Sr. through President Clinton and six years of President George W. Bush. I told the audience that the news days helped to prepare me to do documentaries.

The final half hour was spent on my current documentary movie, Before the Memories Fade, Voices from the Civil Rights Movement. I explained how I came up with the idea for the movie and why I feel a movie of this caliber should be made and is needed. We also covered topics such as my interviews with Dr. Benjamin Hooks and Dr. Dorothy Height. I stressed again that recording this history is immensely important as we marked the passing of both icons a week apart. One of the news updates during the show was President Obama speaking at Dr. Height's funeral.
That's why this is important people need to
hear what it was like from the people who lived during that period in history. The movement was more than four days in in the 60s and it's important to remember what people went through.

The interview even had a question and answer period and I tried to be as informative as I could.
All in all it was a very good experience and I can't wait to do more. It's now time to put the word out on the project!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Protest Re-enactments, Mt. Sterling, Kentucky

Today, April 25th, I shot new scenes for Before The Memories Fade. The shoot was in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. Mt. Sterling is a very nice city which has the feel and architecture of the 1960s.

It was an extremely windy and cloudy day with a T-Storm forecast. The rain held off, but I think the fear of it kept my extras away. This was both bad and good. It was bad because I did not have enough people to shoot a protest march. It was good, though, because one of my extras, Darren Simms, is a professional dog trainer, and he had two dogs and their owners meet us at the site. I wasn't originally planning on shooting scenes with the dogs today.

With Darren's help, I was able to shoot some very intense scenes involving the dogs. One scene was so intense that a passer-by in a truck stopped to help, not realizing it was part of a film.

The viciousness of the dogs, although leashed and tethered to their owners who controlled them using commands, caused everyone on site to do some reflecting of their own. "How could you stand there and take that," one extra said. "That's a whole other level of commitment."

The dogs weren't really in full attack mode but presented a ferocious sight. I cannot imagine having to suffer attacks by police dogs while being a non-violent protester. We felt the intensity as the dogs barked and foamed at the mouth trying to attack. All I can say is that I give even more respect to those who faced the violence during the movement.

We were able to shoot other set-ups involving protesters and signs before the rains ended the shoot day.
I'd like to thank the Mt. Sterling department of tourism for all of their help. I also hope to shoot a large protest there in May.

Some of the protesters take a minute to pose for the camera after the shoot.

From left to right: Willie, Jared, Darren, and Andrea.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Legacy of Adam Francis Plummer

There has been renewed interest in making a feature length documentary on Adam Francis Plummer. Above is a short 6 minute documentary film about the Maryland slave, Plummer who kept a diary that generations later reunited his descendants.

Adam Francis Plummer, a self-taught slave, lived his life in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Plummer secretly kept and wrote a diary that was later discovered by his descendants and donated to the Smithsonian Institution. There the diary was researched, investigated, restored, and prepped for exhibition.

The diary's immediate legacy is a book based on the entries in the diary and written by Plummer's daughter, Nellie Plummer. The book, Out of the Depths, the Triumph of the Cross, has served to unite previously disconnected family members.

(c) 2004

For more on Adam Francis Plummer:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Remembering Dr. Dorothy Height

This morning I woke up to the news that Civil Rights icon Dr. Dorothy Height had passed away. She was one of the world's greatest people!

I'm so glad I was able to talk with and interview her for the film. She was so nice to me! I will always remember the stories she told me and the light in her eyes as she told them. She was so intellectually sharp even late in her 90s. I think my feelings were best written right after I interviewed her. Here's what I previously wrote:

"I'm typing this entry with a big smile because on Thursday October 8th, I interviewed Dr. Dorothy Height for the film. Dr. Height! If you guys don't know who she is, you need to read up on her quickly. Dr. Height is a 97 year young wealth of knowledge on women's rights and civil rights. Dr. Height is respected world wide and has many honorary doctorates from universities here in the states. She took over the leadership of the National Counsel for Negro Women after Mary McLeod Bethune. That is history people and it was a honor to get her perspective on the movement!!

What I decided to focus on in our conversation was a little known effort in the movement started by Dr. Height and Polly Cowan in the Spring of 1964. It was called "Wednesdays in Mississippi." The idea was to send interracial and interfaith teams of northern women to Mississippi on Tuesday and return on Thursday, having spent all day Wednesday talking with and reaching out to the women of the south. Dr. Height said that black women from the north would meet with black women of the south, while the white women from the north would meet with white women of the south. The northern women would all meet up later and discuss ways in which thy could help their fellow sisters.

We did discuss many other movement related subjects, but I'm going to let you hear about them in the movie.

It was a great interview, and Dr. Height was, as I expected, strong, smart, and delightful."

Dr. Height we'll miss you! Thank You!

For more on Dr. Dorothy Height go to: and please web search her name and learn more.

Monday, April 19, 2010

John Mitchell Jr: Documentary Promo Trailer

This short film was made as a fundraising trailer for, "The Man Who Ran The Planet," The John Mitchell Jr. Story. I am Directing this 1 hour documentary based in the city of Richmond, Virginia, along with Co-Producer Kimberly J. Wilson, a Richmond native and Mitchell relative.

The Man Who Ran The Planet

The movie is titled "The Man Who Ran The Planet," The John Mitchell Jr. Story and is a documentary about one of the most powerful Black Americans at the turn-of the-century. John Mitchell, Jr., was the editor of the Richmond Planet newspaper and made it one of the most respected papers of its day. He owned and ran a bank, bought a posh movie theater, and was the first Black man to run for Governor in the state of Virginia. Despite all of these accomplishments, Mitchell is little known outside of Richmond, Virginia, and left out of the history books. The movie examines Mitchell's life and his accomplishments.

WMST Radio interview on the documentary, "Before the Memories Fade"

At 9:05 this morning I was interviewed by Tom and Judy on Mid-Mornings on Main w/Tom and Judy. The 20 minute interview aired live on 106.9 fm and 1150 am on WMST Radio.

I had a good time talking with both of the hosts as we discussed my current project, Before The Memories Fade, Voices from the Civil Rights Movement which will be filming in downtown Mt. Sterling , Kentucky on Sunday the 25th.

We talked about why I'm doing the film and how I came up with the idea to do it. We also talked about why I picked the Mt. Sterling location and made a local call for local extras. As the interview went on we delved into my production and news background and talked about my past documentary films.

It was a live interview and as always you can get weird things to happen and in my case someone rang the doorbell while we were on the air. Hey it's live so you have to roll with it. Man that was crazy though!

All in all it was a great experience. So thanks very much to Judy, Tom, and Dan for having me.

then April 19th my interview starts at 33:40 on the player.

Remembering Dr. Benjamin Hooks

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Benjamin Hooks the morning of April 15, 2010. My condolences and prayers go out to his lovely wife Frances and the family during this time of sadness.

On June 16, 2009, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Benjamin Hooks at his home in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Hooks told me interesting stories about working with Dr. King during the Civil Rights Movement. He also shared with me stories about his personal peril when shot at and chased in a car by angry white southerners.

The interview was for my documentary, Before The Memories Fade: Voices from the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Hooks gave a great interview. He was very nice to me and we had a great off the record talk. Great stuff! He also talked to me about his father who was a still photographer. His face lit up as we talked about the early days of film and how his dad use to light flash powder to make the flash.

The interview and discussion was fun and I'm so very thankful for it. I'm thankful that I was able to learn history from someone who was there in the thick of it and hear it from him firsthand.

For more information on Dr. Benjamin Hooks, try , search his name on the internet, and look at his bio on Wikipedia.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Before The Memories Fade: William T. Coleman

It was a rainy morning in Lexington, Kentucky, on April 8, but the sun shone long enough for me to have a great shoot with the Honorable William T. Coleman, Jr., Esq. Mr. Coleman was in town this past Thursday to speak at the University of Kentucky College of Law.

For those of you who have never heard of Mr. Coleman, let's just say his work had a hand in some some really big legal aspects of the movement. Mr. Coleman worked closely with Thurgood Marshall on many cases, including as one of the lead strategists and coauthor of the legal brief in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Brown was one of the landmark civil rights cases dealing with racial segregation in which the U.S. Supreme Court held racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional.

Mr. Coleman shared some very interesting stories of his life and his time in the movement. His stories were intriguing and after hearing his personal insights, I couldn't help but leave the interview questioning the truth of some of what we were taught about situations that occurred in American history.