Thursday, July 30, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Sidney J. Boney

Sidney J. Boney and I talked at his home in Atlanta on May 30, 2009. Mr. Boney quietly joined the movement while he attended college. He calls himself a weekend agitator because his participation in the movement mostly occurred on the weekends. He would drive to wherever he was needed, do what was asked of him, and drive back to college for Monday classes. Mr. Boney initially kept his participation from his parents because he wasn't sure if they would understand. Eventually, his parents understood and Mr. Boney continued to work for the movement.

Mr. Sidney J. Boney is one of many weekend foot soldiers who strived to end segregation.

Before the Memories Fade: Ernest Holsendolph

Ernest Holsendolph is a retired print reporter who spoke with me at his Atlanta home on May 30. Ernest and I talked about his experiences while being a black reporter in the 60s and his coverage of the riots in Washington, D.C., after Dr. King's assassination.

Ernest's interview was as you could expect . . . very informative. After the camera was off, we both shared personal stories about our journalistic endeavors. It was my last interview of the day, so I quickly packed up and headed the 5 hours back to Lexington, K.Y.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Marion Barry

After an 8 hour drive back home to Washington, D.C., I interviewed Marion Barry on May 23, 2009. The former Mayor, now City Councilman, told some great stories about his life during the movement. Mr. Barry, if you didn't know, was a mover and shaker during the 60s. He traveled the south as SNCC's (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, pronounced snik) first chairman.

During the interview he vividly conveyed to me what he had to go through during the movement. There were also lots of smiles as he reminisced about the people he knew and what they accomplished.

For more information on Marion Barry, check out

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Mukasa Dada (aka) Willie Ricks

The first interview I taped for this documentary was on May 29, 2009, with Mukasa Dada, who was known as "Willie Ricks" during the movement. I started the day in Lexington, Kentucky, and drove the 5 hours to Atlanta. Once there I set up in a hotel room in Buckhead.

When I called Mukasa to let him know I was ready, I got the usual enthusiastic greeting, "What's up brother Africa?" I don't know why but it does make me smile when I hear it. Enough on that matter. Mukasa arrived wearing a dashiki which showed he was in the spirit of the film. Actually, he is always ready to speak on the movement and the state of Blacks in America and the state of African people. Mukasa is a force. I mean the passion that he has to fight injustice comes through clearly. Did you know he is known as the person who came up with the phrase "Black Power?"

It was a great interview and a fine way to start this documentary. For more information on Mukasa Dada (aka Willie Ricks) do a Internet search on Willie Ricks and you'll find plenty.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Dr. Benjamin Hooks

On June 16th, 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 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 went well, and I'm looking forward to talking to him again on another possible project. We also talked 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 thankful for it.

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy

Interviewing Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy on May 24th was very special for me. The reason why this interview was different from the others is because a conversation I had with him over 10 years ago planted in my head the idea for a documentary about the Civil Rights Movement. Back then, while breaking down my equipment after interviewing him about another topic, Rev. Fauntroy and I had a conversation about the use of non-violence as a tactic to produce change and the discipline it took to maintain a non-violent stance during the 60s movement. Rev. Fauntroy called the tactic the Science of Non-Violence. This conversation stayed on my mind for years, and I told myself that if I got the chance I would do a documentary on the movement.

For those of you who don't know about Rev. Fauntroy's part in the movement, here is one little tidbit: Rev. Fauntroy worked as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s liaison to Washington D.C.
Above, you can see him showing me a photo of the signing of the Voting Rights Bill by President Lyndon Johnson as Fauntroy and Dr. King looked on.

For more information on the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, search his name on the internet and look at his bio on Wikipedia.
On a side note, the interview occurred on one of the hottest days of the year and when the building air conditioning was turned off. Hot, hot, hot!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Judge D'Army Bailey

On June 16 I had the pleasure of interviewing Judge D'Army Bailey at his home in Memphis, Tennessee. We discussed why he joined the movement in Memphis and why he traveled throughout the south lending his support.

In the above photo Judge Bailey is holding up a photo of the winning auction ticket allowing him to purchase the Lorraine Motel which is the sight of Dr. King's death and now part of the National Civil Rights Museum. In 1983, Judge Bailey organized the Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation, Inc., in hopes of raising enough money to preserve the Lorraine Motel. The museum was officially dedicated in July 1991. Now that's an accomplishment worth recognizing! The National Civil Rights Museum is a must see while in Memphis. Check it out online at

Judge Bailey is a very talented person who has written several books on the movement, and his latest has just gone to print. You can read more about it here:

There's way more information on the judge than I can include here so be sure to search his name on the web.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Guy and Candie Carawan

On June 3, 2009, I interviewed Guy and Candie Carawan in their home in Tennessee. Meeting and talking with Candie and Guy was informative and delightful.

In the above photo I am taping Guy as he plays several songs, including "We Shall Over Come" which he contributed to the movement. When Guy plays, you know why he was asked to teach and lead songs during the movement. His voice and playing style brought the movement to life for me. Candie was also part of the movement. She began by participating in sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee, and later traveled throughout the south participating in other sit-ins.
For more information on Guy and Candie, check out

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Restoring Honor, The Case of Chaplain Plummer

I have been getting a lot of interest in my Chaplain Plummer documentary lately so I am providing purchasing information and the synopsis on this blog. It was a 2006 Telly Award (Silver) Winner, 2006 Aurora Award (Platinum) Winner, and an Official Selection of the 2006 Pan African Film Festival. This movie was produced under my production company's former name.

To purchase a copy, use Paypal or send a check for $24 dollars to Plumgood Productions, 3402 Pepperhill Rd., Lexington, Kentucky 40502. This purchase price includes shipping and handling.


The film tells the story of Henry Vinton Plummer a Maryland slave who was appointed the first African American Chaplain in the regular Army. Chaplain Plummer’s appointment was equivalent to the rank of Captain and, as to be expected at that time in American history, created internal conflict within the Army’s white officer ranks. This strife, in combination with a disgruntled African American enlisted man’s questionable accusations, led Chaplain Plummer to face the charge of “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman.” After a suspect court martial, Chaplain Plummer was dishonorably discharged in 1894.

Over one hundred years later, the film recounts the dedicated efforts of The Committee to Clear Chaplain Plummer, which is led by Committee President the Reverend L. Jerome Fowler, who is also Chaplain Plummer’s great nephew. Composed of family, clergy, historians, scholars, and retired military personnel, The Committee waged a four-year legal and PR campaign to convince the Army to reinstate Chaplain Plummer and clear his name. The Committee worked tirelessly to research the case and garner support from public leaders and noted officials including Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich and the Maryland House and Senate.

All filming occurred in Maryland. The DVD version of the film was completed in May 2005 and runs 43 minutes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Sparky Rucker

Today I headed down to Maryville, Tennessee, to interview famous folk singer James “Sparky” Rucker about his participation in the movement. As soon as Sparky opened the door I knew why his fans adore him. His smile and warm welcome clued me in that this was going to be a great interview.

Sparky can definitely tell a great story. He shared stories not just of his role in the civil rights movement but also those of his father, who was an African American police officer in Knoxville during the 1960s. Sparky also explained that many songs from the civil rights movement have their origins in slave songs and the words were rewritten to fortify those in the movement.

When the interview was over, Sparky graced me by playing a song or two. Listening to Sparky as he played the guitar and sang put me in the spirit of the movement. If you get a chance, you should see Sparky and his wife, Rhonda, perform. For more information, go to

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Dr. Abby Marlatt

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Abby Marlatt, who was instrumental in forming the Lexington, Kentucky, chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). 93 years young, she remembers quite vividly the marches and sit-ins in which she participated to demonstrate her belief in the non-violent movement of the 1960s.

Dr. Marlatt helped to organize protests and marches in downtown Lexington. Despite pressure from officials at the University of Kentucky, where she was director of the School of Home Economics, she persevered. She also helped start the Lexington Committee on Religion and Human Rights, which was a force in calling attention to injustice in Lexington.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Before the Memories Fade: Kentucky Interviews

Part of what makes this film so fun and exciting is talking with the little known people whose grass roots efforts were a huge part of the movement. These people put their lives on the line without any national coverage and fought to end segregation. The “Foot Soldiers” as they are called made and fuelled the movement and their stories are powerful. Early in July I interviewed some Foot Soldiers in Lexington, Kentucky. Pictured below are Robert Jefferson, Ronald Berry, and P.G. Peeples Sr.