Albany Civil Rights Institute Presents Award-Winning Civil Rights Documentary & Discussion Featuring Several Black Albanians, Filmmaker

The Albany Civil Rights Institute will present an award-winning civil rights film, featuring multiple black Albanians, who fought on the front lines of the bloodiest campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement.

                  The Institute will present the hour-long documentary, Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 That Transformed America™, Tuesday, September 12, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at 326 Whitney Avenue, Albany, GA 31701. The program will feature filmmaker Clennon L. King, and is free and open to the public.

                   “We are honored to celebrate so many black Albanians who were a part of making this film,” said Albany Civil Rights Institute Executive Director Frank Wilson. “This film shows the key role several black Southwest Georgians made in the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of ’64, outlawing Jim Crow segregation on the books from coast to coast.”

                  The film was written, directed and edited by King, who will introduce his documentary on Tuesday. The Albany native, now of Boston, Massachusetts, is the youngest son of the late civil rights attorney, C. B. King, the first African American for whom a Southern federal courthouse is named, located in downtown Albany. The elder King represented scores of civil rights demonstrators during the historic Albany Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (no relation).

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                  Among the former black Albanians featured in the film are Mimi Ford Jones, also of Boston, Massachusetts, and J.T. Johnson of Atlanta. Johnson and Jones will join the filmmaker after the screening for audience Q&A.

          In June of 1964, both Johnson and the then-17-year-old Jones were among seven demonstrators who jumped into a whites-only motel pool in St. Augustine, Florida, prompting the owner to pour muriatic acid in the water.

Photos and footage of the episode made front-page news, and circled the globe. 

                  The two, along with others, boarded a bus in Albany bound for St. Augustine, under the leadership of the late Reverend Samuel Wells. Wells who was working for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference went at the invitation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With riveting archival footage, Passage at St. Augustine™ features more than 45 voices which help tell the story of this little-known, but pivotal civil rights campaign. They include foot soldiers and field lieutenants, segregationists, White House insiders, clergy, Klansman, correspondents, law enforcement and politicians. 

                  “And while LBJ and MLK are also featured prominently, audiences invariably come away asking why a campaign so pivotal appears to have been wiped from the hard drive of History,” he said. “I wanted to capture and chronicle their stories while they were still here,” filmmaker said, noting nearly a third of those interviewed are now deceased. 

Also featured is Albany civil rights veteran Rutha Harris, who contributed to the film’s musical score. 

The filmmaker’s brother, Atty. Chevene B. King, Jr. of Albany, and first cousin, photographer Paul C. King, filmed several on-camera interviews, helping produce the film.

                  “I wanted to capture and chronicle their stories while they were still here,” filmmaker said, noting a third of those interviewed are now deceased. 

                  Thirteen years in the making, the film premiered in February 2015 before the League of Women Voters in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Since then, King has presented at multiple institutions across the country, including Dartmouth College, Brandeis Universitythe African Burial Ground of New York City, the University of Texas at Austin and multiple other campuses including four in Florida where the campaign unfolded.

The film earned The Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival. King resides in Boston, home to AugustineMonica Films™, which produced Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America™