Projects in the Research/Development Pipeline

“On Bended Knees, 1963” (working title)

A retrospective look at the important 1963 Civil Rights demonstrations and related events in Gadsden, Alabama. The year was punctuated with violence as African Americans marched to end Jim Crow laws and fought to make America a democracy. It was a time when hope and hatred were on full display. This documentary is a look back at the noteworthy and historic 1963 events in Gadsden, positioned alongside the National Civil Rights Movement.

The Book of Solomon (working title)

Before Lee Elder and Tiger Woods, there was Solomon Hughes, a Black caddy master and professional golfer from Gadsden (Etowah County), Alabama. Hughes challenged the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour when he attempted to play in the all-white 1948 St. Paul Minnesota Open. Hughes, a gifted golfer, and insightful instructor gave golf lessons to boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson. This is the untold story of Hughes’ life, and the efforts of two devoted golfers as they drive to make his legacy wider known. They believe he should be a member of the Etowah County and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

The Proving Ground? (working title)

In the late 1960s, two young Black men from Alabama’s Hill Country were drawn into the Vietnam war. One, J.D., a civil rights foot soldier, and the son of a Black Baptist minister from a steel town, trained in chemicals, combat, and the culinary arts before he eventually became the first cook at Blackhorse Base Camp in southern Vietnam. The other, Hollis, from a small family farm, some 30 minutes away, became a Marine and engaged in some of the fiercest fighting of the war near Quảng Trị in central Vietnam. This experimental documentary project will examine the unique experience, memories, and epistemology of these soldiers, born to working-class Black families in northern Alabama.