‘Trail of Hope - The Journey to Equality’

Updated: Jul. 13, 2018 at 6:37 PM CDT
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(RNN) - “Trail of Hope - The Journey to Equality” documentary traces the path of the civil rights struggle through churches, courthouses, jail cells and other historic sites across the South.

The project was inspired by the United States Civil Rights Trail, a string of landmarks in 14 states that played a pivotal role in advancing social justice.

Documentary producer Dave McNamara created the program with help from WSFA 12 News and other Raycom Media stations.

The one-hour special chronicles the stories of many civil rights activists and others who continue working for the cause. You can watch the documentary on WSFA.com.

“Trail of Hope” features:

Retired U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon - an activist who, while a student at Miles College in 1962, confronted Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor over segregation laws. Clemon also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and sued University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant to desegregate the team.

South Carolina Civil Rights Activist Cleveland Sellers - one of the leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, an organization designed to protest racial inequality and segregation in the 1960s. He witnessed the Orangeburg Massacre in 1968, and was the only person convicted for events at the Massacre, but received a full pardon 25 years later.

Mississippi Civil Rights Activist Hezekiah Watkins - a participant in a bus stop sit-in organized by the Freedom Riders. Because of his part in the protest, he was jailed and put on Death Row temporarily at the age of 13. He has fought for civil rights ever since, and says this moment was when he became a lifelong proponent of justice.

Glendora, MS, Mayor Johnny B. Thomas - the son of Henry Lee, who was allegedly forced to take part in the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. He has dedicated his life to telling Till’s story, ensuring that tragedies like this never happen again.

Selma Attorney Bruce Boynton - his decision to sit at a whites-only lunch counter in Virginia on his way home to Alabama in 1958 eventually turned into a landmark Supreme Court decision. Lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who later became a U.S. Supreme Court justice, won the case on behalf of Boynton, effectively ending Jim Crow in public transportation.

Memphis Civil Rights Activist Dwania Kyles - a member of the “Memphis 13,” a group of students who integrated in the schools of Memphis, TN. She also witnessed Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” King was killed the following day, just before he was scheduled to attend dinner with Kyles’ family.

Rosa Parks Museum Director Dr. Felicia Bell - an advocate for preserving African American heritage. She received a history degree from Savannah College of Art and Design and her doctorate in U.S. history from Howard University.

Retired Alabama State Archivist Dr. Edwin Bridges - a curator of the stories of Civil Rights leaders, protesters, and activists. He believes that issues facing American and world history can be seen unfolding in Alabama.

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