Research: The Making of the Documentary
Timeline of Events: The Making of “You Don't Have to Ride Jim Crow!”
1987: After nine years as a newspaper and magazine journalist, Robin Washington takes a broadcast fellowship at WGBH television and radio in Boston.
1989: Washington produces the documentary “Vermont: The Whitest State in the Union” for WGBH, earning a New England Emmy Award.
1992: Washington serves as communications director for the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Nyack, N.Y. In the basement of the organization's headquarters, he discovers extensive artifacts of the early days of the pacifist and civil rights movements, including meeting minutes on the formation of CORE and the planning of the Journey of Reconciliation.
February 1993: Washington leaves the FOR and begins work on a documentary of the journey. Of the 16 participants, 10 are located but three Jim Peck, Homer Jack and Worth Randle die shortly before production begins.
August 1993: Six journey participants (Nathan Wright, Bill Worthy, Ernie Bromley, Wally Nelson, Conrad Lynn and Joe Felmet) gather in Washington, D.C., for the 35th Anniversary March on Washington. They also meet Irene Morgan (now Kirkaldy) for the first time and travel to Virginia to visit Jim Farmer, who could not make the first trip. The group poses in front of Spottswood Robinson's Richmond law office, where the only photograph of the journey was taken nearly 50 years before.
|Wally Nelson and George Houser sit side by side on a 1994 reunion bus trip. (click to enlarge)
Second reunion trip (Nathan Wright, Bill Worthy, Ernie Bromley, Wally Nelson, George Houser and Joe Felmet) through North Carolina, including the site of the Chapel Hill bus station where the group was attacked in 1947. The group also meet many who helped them along the way on the historic trip.
Fall 1994: Joe Felmet dies. Retired United States Appeals Court Judge A. Leon Higginbotham agrees to narate the program.
February 1995: Program premieres on New Hampshire Public Television.
1995: Program makes national debut. The Rev. Wyatt T. Walker, a former aide to Dr. King, honors riders and Washington with Trumpeters of Freedom Award.
1996: Program wins Silver Gavel Award from American Bar Association.
1997: Conrad Lynn and Ernest Bromley die.
1999: Judge Higginbotham dies.
August 2000: Irene Morgan Kirkaldy is honored by Gloucester, Va., as the kickoff to that city's 350th Anniversary celebration.
December 2000: President Bill Clinton awards Kirkaldy the Presidential Citizenship Medal.
April 2002: Boston's Community Change, Inc., holds plenary and screening of the program and presents the Drylongso Awards to the riders, the late Judge Higginbotham and Washington.
May 2002: Wally Nelson dies. Hundreds gather in Deerfield, Mass., for his memorial.
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