True stories of fights for justice and equality

The heart of our work focuses on intersections of race, justice, and history, examining the roots and resonance of past struggles and current crises of mass incarceration and racial prejudice.

 
 

AN OUTRAGE

AN OUTRAGE is a documentary film about lynching in the American South. Filmed on-location at lynching sites in six states and bolstered by the memories and perspectives of descendants, community activists, and scholars, this unusual historical documentary seeks to educate even as it serves as a hub for action to remember and reflect upon a long-hidden past.

  • Premiered at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, March 2017
  • Exclusive K-12 distribution rights acquired by the Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Winner of the Audience Award, 2017 Indie Grits Film Festival
  • Currently on-tour at festivals, universitites, and museums across the United States

Visit the film's website to learn more: an-outrage.com.

 

THE HAIL-STORM: JOHN DABNEY IN VIRGINIA

John Dabney was a giant of 19th-century Richmond high society. He was a fixture of sophisticated gatherings, a connoisseur of the era’s delicacies (terrapin stew, canvasback duck, "hail-storm" juleps), and a family man who with his wife raised five children—among them, schoolteachers, a professional baseball player, and a musician-turned-newspaper editor. Yet the man who knew how to craft what the papers called "immortal foods" was also defined by what prevented him from doing even more. Dabney, an African American, spent his first 41 years enslaved.

  • Supported by funding from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and PBS affiliate WCVE / The Community Idea Stations

  • Premiered at the sold-out, third-annual John Dabney Dinner, a signature event of Richmond's Fire, Flour & Fork food festival

  • Will be freely available, along with a viewer discussion guide, web extras, and recipes, beginning in December 2017

Visit the film's website to learn more: hailstormdabney.com.

 
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RICHMOND JUSTICE

Richmond Justice considers the justice landscape in Virginia's capital city. Each week in 2016, we revealed a new portrait and story about a Richmonder whose life is shaped in some way by the justice system. Comprised of photos, stories, a short documentary film, and an audio story, Richmond Justice presents the struggles and accomplishments of individuals different from one another in countless ways—but connected by many hands of justice.

In addition to our weekly stories published in 2016, we hosted a Richmond Justice Mayoral Debate during the election season, and will launch a gallery show at UR Downtown on Friday, February 3, 2017.  

Press:

Visit the project's site to learn more: richmondjustice.org.

 

ADRIAN'S STORY

Adrian Swearengen is a barber-in-training. He is refining his skills with the clippers while offering haircuts for individuals who cannot afford to visit a barber shop. Adrian has long dreamed of becoming a licensed barber, and is realizing this goal after years of incarceration.

  • Official Selection, 2016 Virginia Film Festival
  • Official Selection, 2016 Skyline Indie Film Festival
  • Official Selection, 2016 Washington West Film Festival
  • Official Selection, 2016 Film Festival at Little Washington
  • Featured on Narratively
 
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KENNETH'S FIRST VOTE

On November 8, 2016, Kenneth Williams voted for the first time. Though he completed a prison sentence for robbery 30 years ago, this 67-year-old Richmond resident lacked voting rights until Governor Terry McAuliffe restored them earlier this year.

Kenneth is one of more than 206,000 Virginians who had lost the right to vote due to incarceration. Most states restore voting rights automatically after incarcerated individuals have completed their sentences; Virginia requires an application and approval by the Governor.

We were fortunate to join Kenneth and his wife, Alfreda Williams, for this first journey to the polls. Listen to our six-minute story here:

 

RICHMOND'S JOURNEY

The story of Richmond, Virginia, in April 1865 is one of chaos, hope, uncertainty, and joy. The capital of the Confederacy finally fell as the Confederate government evacuated amid burning warehouses, and Union army units—including United States Colored Troops—entered the city. Richmond's slave markets were abandoned and formerly enslaved men and women greeted the arrival of Abraham Lincoln with jubilation.

We helped to mark the 150th anniversary of these events in April 2015. Under the banner of The Future of Richmond's Past, a coalition of more than 20 historical, cultural, and arts organizations presented a weekend of tours, workshops, and commemorations.

 

CALLS FROM HOME

Radio station WMMT broadcasts hip-hop and shout-outs to those incarcerated in the prison system of Central Appalachia, giving family members—many of whom live hundreds of miles away—a chance to connect with their loved ones.

  • Official Selection, 2014 PBS Online Film Festival

Read our behind-the-scenes production notes and learn more about the troubling trend of prison proliferation in coal country:

  

 

THAT WORLD IS GONE:
RACE AND DISPLACEMENT IN A SOUTHERN TOWN

Revealing the history of Charlottesville's largest African American neighborhood, Vinegar Hill, we explored black property ownership and the area's destruction in 1965.

  • Audience Award for Best Short Documentary, 2010 Virginia Film Festival
  • Aired on PBS affiliates WCVE and WVPT in Summer 2012

Press:

Watch the film, read our behind-the-scenes production notes, and learn more about the history of Vinegar Hill at this link.