APRIL’S HERO is the story of Robert Reed, the ultimate first responder after the April 27th, 2011 tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The tornado created a six-mile path of destruction and left 52 dead, but Reed pulled twelve of his neighbors from the rubble, throwing refrigerators and hot water heaters off of them. Reed moved into Crescent Ridge Mobile Home Estates in Tuscaloosa County in 2009. Residents were wary of him because of his background, but like many other times in his life, Reed won them over with his work ethic.
NOT MY SON. Not My Son follows Birmingham’s Carolyn Johnson Turner and her Parents Against Violence members over the course of several months. Parents Against Violence Foundation was founded on March 1, 2004, by Johnson-Turner as a result of the anguish she experienced when her 20-year old son, Rodreckus DeAndrew Johnson, was shot and killed while attending a birthday party. In order to cope, she and her members, women who have also lost loved ones to gun violence, are on a personal mission to prevent other deaths.
ERIC ESSIX: AT HOME, Jazz is often traced to the Big Easy; but defining its shape is anything but easy. So when the filmmaker set out to chronicle (in a one-hour documentary) chart-topping, record-breaking jazz guitarist Eric Essix, he ignored the occasional boxy documentary format and instead let Essix loose with his red Gibson hollow-body. The program follows Essix as produces Abide with Me.
TRYING TIMES: PERRY COUNTY SCHOOLS. With 52% of Perry County Alabama’s children living in poverty, the four schools educating those children are equally suffering impoverished hardships. “Trying Times: Perry County Schools,” portrays the humanized effect of Alabama’s legislative pitfalls and repercussions from September 10th, 2003’s, failed Amendment One (A Statewide Tax Reform Plan) education budget .
MOMENTS OF DIGNITY, Booker T. Washington established the photography department at Tuskegee Institute in the early 1900s, Cornelius Marion Battey was its first instructor, and P.H. Polk was Battey’s protégé. Discover Polk’s vivid, evocative photographs and see the unique perspective of Alabama life created by African American photographers at Tuskegee.
STILL HOLDING ON: THE MUSIC OF DOROTHY LOVE COATES AND THE ORIGINAL GOSPEL HARMONETTES. Birmingham’s Dorothy Love Coates was a vibrant performer, a prolific composer, and played a major role in shaping contemporary African American sacred music and worship services. During her 50-year career she wrote and published over 300 songs, recorded 20 albums, and her music has been recorded by musicians such as Mahalia Jackson, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, The Blackwood Brothers, Rev. James Cleveland, Buddy Rich, and the Statesmen Quartet.
I SHALL NOT BE MOVED: THE LEGACY OF W.C. PATTON,This program profiles 84 year-old civil rights activist, W.C. Patton. When Alabama banned the NAACP in 1956, Patton became the organization’s national voter education director and conducted crucial registration and education campaigns, before the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
THE LOWNDES COUNTY FREEDOM PARTY. The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland in 1966, but it traces its roots to rural Lowndes County in Alabama. This program remembers the efforts of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in this forgotten outpost in the civil rights struggle.
DOG DAYS, As the state’s longest running professional football franchise (The Steeldogs). For some young men making the active roster for the Birmingham Arena 2 Football team is an opportunity to play the game they love with the hope of moving up, even if it means starting at the bottom. Dog Days follows four players through one season as they struggle to keep their team and their dreams alive.