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 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.
Produced in 2016, AN OUTRAGE will premiere at festivals and museums in 2017.
Visit the film's website to learn more: an-outrage.com.
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.
- Richmond NPR affiliate WCVE, "University of Richmond Downtown to Open Exhibition on 'Richmond Justice,'" February 1, 2017
- Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Richmond Mayoral Hopefuls Debate City's Criminal Justice System," October 14, 2016.
- Richmond Magazine, "You've Got Justice: A Yearlong Project in Storytelling Yields Diverse Perspectives," September 27, 2016
Visit the project's site to learn more: richmondjustice.org.
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
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:
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
- NBC 29, "Charlottesville City Council Allocates $15K to Create Vinegar Hill Park," December 6, 2016.
- Charlottesville Daily Progress, "Charlottesville Officially Apologizes for Razing Vinegar Hill," November 7, 2011.
- Charlottesville Daily Progress, "Vinegar Hill Displacement Topic of Film Festival Event," November 6, 2010.
Watch the film, read our behind-the-scenes production notes, and learn more about the history of Vinegar Hill at this link.