Monday, March 31, 2014

50 Years On: Remembering the fight to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Fifty years ago today, the 72-year-old mother of the Governor of Massachusetts, Mary Parkman Peabody, was arrested at the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida, for attempting to be served in an integrated group at a racially segregated restaurant. This mixed race group was one of many trying to put pressure on congress to pass the Civil Rights act which was being filibustered.

We encourage you to look at this archive photo of the event, the "reading of the sit-in law" to a group of elderly ladies and an African American dentist (Dr. Hayling, whose fingers were intentionally broken by the KKK). The man making the arrest is St. John County Sheriff L.O. Davis.

The attention paid to this event by the national media foreshadowed the impact of another, even more dramatic integration protest, when an image of black and white Americans united against segregation would grab headlines around the world and lead the President of the United States to say: "Our whole foreign policy and everything else could go to hell over this."

You can read a lot more about these historic events, many of which have long been overlooked in the gentrified mainstream histories of the civil rights movement, at this Civil Rights Movement Veterans website, hosted by Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS.

Note that some versions of the Parkman Peabody Ponce de Leon arrest have the date as March 30 or April 1. We went with March 31 as a compromise.

Also note that we are not showing the Parkman Peabody arrest photo on this page because is owned by Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. Mr Gates' company, Corbis, charges $1,000 a year to put this photo on a web page, so we took the cheap route and provided a link to the catalog.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Another year of being on sale with very few sales

Just a quick update in the final quarter of 2013 to say that the film is still very much in the red. The odd DVD sale and streaming rental has produced just a few dollars since the last update in 2012. That's when we pointed out that having your movie offered for sale at websites like Amazon or Walmart does not mean it is being sold.

Andrew Young being assaulted during a night march to the
historic Slave Market in St. Augustine, Florida, 1964
The financial net worth of the project is still less than zero, meaning that if even if we gave away the rights to the movie they would come with debts to be paid. Of course, the positive reports we get from time to time, submitted by people who have seen the film, support our continued belief that the project was 100% worthwhile. And we will be forever thankful to all who helped make the film a reality.

We do know that every February the film gets screened in many classrooms around the country--usually in violation of copyright law, but hey, we're not going to report anybody--so that thousands of kids get to see what non-violent struggle is really like: black and white people taking a beating without fighting back. That was the brilliant strategy that won the passage of the first civil rights act, 50 years ago this year.

Policeman cattle prods a white student "sitting in" to protest segregation
and support civil rights in St. Augustine, Florida, 1964

Thursday, May 24, 2012

5 Years On: On sale but not selling

Five years ago we began negotiating the theatrical and DVD release of Dare Not Walk Alone. We had high hopes that this would lead to revenue, enough to pay back the people who lent their time and money to making the film, and then give something back to the community whose story is told in the film. Sadly those hopes have faded, as reflected in the film's latest financial statement. Stephen Cobb has blogged about this over on his personal blog.

Fortunately, we think the film will live on, in community screenings, often around the time of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. And hopefully there are still people out there who were inspired by the film to make a difference in their communities.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Dare Not Walk Alone featured at the Tallahassee Film Festival 2012 Tribute to African-American Films

We're proud to see Dare Not Walk Alone featured at the Tallahassee Film Festival 2012 Tribute to African-American Films.

If you can't make the screenings, you can always rent or buy online from amazon instant video.

With many thanks from the film's producers...Jeremy Dean, Stephen Cobb, and Richard Mergener

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Screenings of Dare Not Walk Alone for Black History Month 2011

Great to see a new screening of Dare Not Walk Alone in Florida in February. Check out the Tallahassee Film Society website. Showing is February 3 through 8, with an appearance by Tom Roche who was closely involved in bringing the film to its finished state.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday Observed

Today we honor and remember the man born yesterday, January 15, in 1929. He would be 83. Dr. King left us with so much good advice, including my favorite quote:
“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?”
Over the years I have tried to do my part to keep Dr. King's legacy fresh in the minds of new generations, for example by helping others to capture the genius and bravery of his campaign of non-violence against segregation. (You can catch a glimpse here or spend 80 minutes to watch the whole story.)

We should never forget how much the civil rights movement was a fight to wrest equality and human dignity from the hands of those who would forever have denied it. To win that fight with a minimum of bloodshed was one of the great human achievements of the last 50 years.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

At Last! The St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument

This month St. Johns County in Florida took another step towards reconciling the racial divisions of its past through the unveiling of the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers monument.

Built to honor citizens of all ages who endured harassment, beatings, jail time and worse, in their efforts to bring civil rights to that city during the 1960s, the monument was the result of many years of hard work by a nonprofit group called the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers.

As noted by Ken Bryan, chairman of the St. Johns County Commission, in the St. Augustine Record, the fundraising efforts of the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers included screenings of Jeremy Dean's "Dare Not Walk Alone," the award-winning documentary about local events that precipitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

These screenings served a double purpose, raising funds while also raising awareness of just how great were the sacrifices of the Foot Soldiers. And throughout the movie you see the brilliance of Rev. Martin Luther King's strategy of non-violence, often orchestrated by Andrew Young, executed by "ordinary" men, women, and sometimes children, who became, through their actions, "extraordinary."

As a nation, we owe these people a debt of gratitude for daring to put their lives on the line for what was right and cement for all Americans the equalities first envisioned in the country's constitution.

[Many thanks to NocturnalEscape.com for publicizing the unveiling and Brian Owens for the photo.]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Film That Sparked Florida Civil Rights Action Screens Feb 28 in Gainesville

A lot of filmmakers set out to change the world, or at least cause something good to happen. Well Jeremy Dean achieved something like that when he made Dare Not Walk Alone, the gritty, award-winning documentary being screened next Monday, February 28, at the Gainesville Civic Media Center.

On the 9th of December, 2010, the state of Florida officially expressed regret to civil rights marchers who were beaten and jailed for protesting segregated beaches and lunch counters in St. Augustine in the 1960s, an event "set in motion by state Senator Tony Hill, a Jacksonville Democrat who unsuccessfully sought to pass a bill in the 2010 legislative session to clear the marchers' records." And here's what Sen. Hill wrote about Dare Not Walk Alone shortly after seeing the film for the first time:
"The documentary was so moving that, as chairman of the Black Caucus of the State of Florida, I have filed a bill for the 2007 legislative session in the House and the Senate to have all records cleared for anyone who was arrested because of segregated laws. That is how compelling the film was to me."
There is no other civil rights documentary like Dare Note Walk Alone. We hope you can make it to this screening, a fitting way to end Black History Month. More screening info.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dare Not Walk Alone Documentary Has Made a Difference: But the pace of change is too slow

Things can change for the better and movies can help make positive change happen, we just wish the world moved faster. On Thursday the 9th of last month, the state of Florida officially expressed regret to civil rights marchers who were beaten and jailed for protesting segregated beaches and lunch counters in St. Augustine in the 1960s, as detailed in this report in the Tampa Bay Tribune and documented in Dare Not Walk Alone.

As the article notes, the highly emotional events of last December 9th "were set in motion by state Sen. Tony Hill, a Jacksonville Democrat who unsuccessfully sought to pass a bill in the 2010 legislative session to clear the marchers' records." What the article does not mention is that Sen. Tony Hill himself was set in motion by Dare Not Walk Alone. Here's what he wrote about the film back in 2006:

"The documentary was so moving that, as chairman of the Black Caucus of the State of Florida, I have filed a bill for the 2007 legislative session in the House and the Senate to have all records cleared for anyone who was arrested because of segregated laws. That is how compelling the film was to me."
We applauded Sen. Hill for his actions then, and we applaud the Florida legislature and departing Governor Crist for this recent step in the right direction. However, I am sure that Sen. Hill is just as frustrated as we are that it has taken more than 45 years for this expression of regret to emerge. And it should not have taken 3 years for Sen. Hill's bill to result in action, and even then an action which falls short of a blanket pardon and clearing of criminal records that have encumbered these heroic marchers for decades (apparently it will be up to individual law enforcement agencies to clear the records, if they decide to do so).

But this was at least a step in the right direction, and it makes us feel better about all the time and money and effort we put into making the film. I guess it was unrealistic to expect one film to change the world overnight, but perhaps incrementally, over time, it will chip away at the lingering issues of racial injustice that still must be addressed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dare Not Walk Alone Available as Internet Video on Demand

With Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaching we wanted to let you know there are several ways to watch Dare Not Walk Alone, a documentary which portrays the genius of the philosophy of non-violence that Dr. King preached.

This movie is not your typical salute to Dr. King. This is a gritty portrait of the beatings and abuse that his supporters endured, without fighting back, in order to force the passage of the first civil rights act.

Furthermore, this documentary places in context a series of events in Florida that were wiped from the historical record for many years until director Jeremy Dean researched the newsreel archives and oral history of 1964 in St. Johns County, uncovering injustices that linger to this day.

In addition to purchasing the DVD from Amazon.com or Walmart.com, you can also, if you have a broadband Internet connect, rent the movie over the web from Amazon.com.

A further option is to buy a digital version from Amazon.