About The Film
Nearly two centuries ago, decades before the Civil War, Over sixty slaves were freed by the will of Major Richard Bibb in Russellville, Kentucky. They inherited land, tools, houses and money; everything needed to establish themselves as free blacks in America. Today descendants of those freedmen are rediscovering their own history through the efforts of a single dedicated local historian. But the impact of this story goes much wider, a few white descendants of the major are also finding lessons and meaning in this legacy.
The story follows the filmmaker as he discovers this part of his history and begins to engage with the places and the people. Joined by University of Kentucky PHD candidate and journalist Le Datta Grimes, they will explore the context of this historical narrative and investigate the living memories of local residents. It quickly reveals a story that is deeply interwoven with African-American History and there is no one living with more knowledge of this region’s history than Michael Morrow. Morrow's own story of poverty, neglect, and lack of opportunity reveals itself to be integral to the continuing story of the rural black community founded by the slaves freed in 1839.
Morrow leads a project of the local historical society to complete a museum in the Major's house dedicated to the emancipated laborers and their legacy. A hope hangs over the project that a new interest in this story will help preserve the neighborhood he grew up in as one of the oldest and longest lasting rural black neighborhoods in the South. He hopes the museum will provide a future for the at risk young men he mentors. The young men, some descended from those same former slaves, are building the museum today. It remains to be seen if his efforts will be successful.
About the Film Makers
Director: Jonathan Knight, is a filmmaker and Visual Effects supervisor. With over 15 years experience in Visual Effects for film this is Jonathan's first project in the role as Director. He has recently become aware and intensely interested in his family's past in the South and involvement with slavery.
Co-Writer/Co-Producer: Le Datta Denise Grimes is a PhD candidate at the University of Kentucky where her studies center on Black communities, education and activism in the early twentieth century. She is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated newspaper journalist, and her work has appeared in both People and Newsweek magazines. She is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, but has called Kentucky home for nearly 20 years.