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  Film Arts Foundation
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Film Credits

Prince Edward school circa 1914.
Prince Edward school circa 1914.

...it remains to be noted that the whole group life of Farmville [Prince Edward County] Negroes is pervaded by a peculiar hopefulness on the part of the people themselves. No one of them doubts that one day black people will have all the rights they are now striving for.

– W. E. B. DuBois

Project Staff

Glen Pearcy, Director/Cinematographer, is an award winning documentary film maker whose credits include programs for PBS and an Academy Award© nomination for his film “Fighting for Our Lives,” a documentary film on Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Pearcy's most recent documentary, "Deadly Business", investigates the role of the gun industry and the National Rifle Association in the epidemic of gun violence. It has won a Telly and a CINE Gold Eagle, and a prize at INTERCOM/Chicago International Film Festival.

Robert Dalva, Scriptwriter/Film Editor, is a film maker with extensive experience in feature and documentary films whose credits include programs for PBS, “NOVA” and “Frontline” and an Academy Award© nomination for his film editing of the feature film “The Black Stallion.” He is the film editor for the recent feature films “Hidalgo,” “October Sky,” and “Jurassic Park III,” as well as for the PBS series “Cadillac Desert.”

Brian Grogan, Producer, is the Director of Photography+Preservation Associates, a firm specializing in the photographic documentation of cultural history. Mr. Grogan, a professional photographer of more than twenty years experience, is a graduate in history of Hampden-Sydney College which is located in Prince Edward County. In four years of development work, he has done extensive archive and primary research on the history of the Prince Edward County schools' crisis.

Calvin Nunnally, Co-Producer, former Director of Educational Services for Central Virginia Educational Telecommunications Corporation, has 20 years experience in Public Broadcasting and educational programming. He also has a decade of experience as a teacher and administrator in Virginia Public Schools. He is a native of Prince Edward and was forced out of school for four years due to the closing of the public schools.

Thomas Hoynes, Co-Producer/Production Manager, has 15 years experience in all aspects of commercial still & film production management with such noted photographers as Annie Leibovitz, Sheila Metzner, Mario Testino and Bruce Weber. He has also worked as an assistant director on television advertising campaigns for national clients including AT&T, Calvin Klein, Disney, Ralph Lauren and Toyota.

Dr. Catherine Ellis, Research Consultant, wrote her dissertation, “The Legacy of Jim Crow in Rural Louisiana” at Columbia University. Her research is featured in the radio documentary, “Remembering Jim Crow”, which aired on National Public Radio and is part of the book/CD set of the same title. Dr. Ellis was a field researcher for Duke University’s “Behind the Veil” oral history project and held a research fellowship at the Institute on Race and Social Division at Boston University. She is now working for the documentary production unit, American Radio Works, of National Public Radio, and completing a book, The Shadow of Jim Crow, based on her dissertation.

Dr. Vonita Foster, Research Specialist, is the Executive Director of the National Slave Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She was formerly the Director of the L.Douglas Wilder Library and Learning Resource Center at Virginia Union University in Richmond and was the first African-American Librarian hired by the Library of Virginia. A native of Prince Edward, she was directly affected by the public schools closure there. She is the co-author of Silent Trumpets of Justice: Integration’s Failure in Prince Edward County.

Advisory Staff

John Egerton: historian and journalist, author of the acclaimed history Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement.

Jean Fairfax: Director of the Southern Civil Rights Program for the American Friends Service Committee from 1957 to 1965, and also served for 20 years on the staff of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund

Dr. Gerald Foster: Professor of Social Work at Virginia Union University, he is the co-author of Silent Trumpets of Justice: Integration's Failure in Prince Edward County.

Dr. Robert L. Green: Professor of Educational Psychology, David Walker Research Institute in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University

Dr. Ronald Heinemann: Squires Professor of American History, Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia

Dr. James Hershman: Senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at
Georgetown University

Linda Eanes Jefferson:  Associate Professor of English, Richard Bland College of the College of William & Mary

Dr. Edward Peeples: Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine & Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University

David Rudenstine: Dean of the Benjamin Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University in New York

R.C. Smith: a career journalist, author of They Closed Their Schools: Prince Edward County, Virginia 1951-1964

Dr. Patricia Sullivan: Fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American
Research at Harvard University.

Dr. Kara Miles Turner: Historian; Assistant Dean for Administration at Morgan State University

Dr. Peter Wallenstein: Associate Professor of History at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Ambassador William vanden Heuvel: Chairman, The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former Special Assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy

Lacy Ward, Jr.: Vice-President of Communications at Tuskegee University, Tuskegee Alabama; Member, National Commission for the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

Film Arts Foundation

Located in San Francisco, California this organization, founded by and for local filmmakers in 1976, has supported the creation, exhibition, and distribution of independent film and video. FAF is the largest regional organization of independent producers in the country.

Film Arts Foundation's achievements have garnered the admiration and respect of a national audience: the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a month-long tribute to Film Arts, the MacArthur Foundation has recognized Film Arts as one of seven media arts centers in the country of "national significance," the New York-based Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers has given Film Arts the "Indie Award" for outstanding media arts center, and Film Arts Foundation has even been thanked in an Academy Award acceptance speech. Film Arts members have either won or been nominated for over thirty Academy Awards over the past two decades.

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They Closed Our Schools has been developed in cooperation with the Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco, California and Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation in Richmond, Virginia. The film has been funded in its research, development, and production by the following supporters to whom we are most grateful:

Friends of the Film

The following individuals and organizations have graciously endorsed
They Closed Our Schools

Julian Bond
Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors

Mark R. Warner
Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia

John Warner
United States Senate, Virginia

Robert R. Scott
United States Congress, Virginia

Dr. Belle Wheelan
Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia

Henry L. Marsh, III
Senator, Commonwealth of Virginia
Chairman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission

Dr. Mary T. Christian
Chair, The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, Commonwealth of Virginia

Russell Potts
Senator, Commonwealth of Virginia

Dr. Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commonwealth of Virginia

Jean Bankos
President, Virginia Education Association

L. Douglas Wilder
Governor of Virginia, 1990-1994

Lacy Ward, Jr.
Vice-President, Tuskegee University; Member, National Commission
for the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

Dr. Patricia Cormier
President, Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia

Lynn Walker Huntley
President, Southern Educational Foundation, Atlanta, Georgia

Ambassador William vanden Heuvel
Chairman, The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former Special Assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy

Michael Wenger
Former deputy director President Clinton's Initiative on Race. Director, Network of Alliances Bridging Race and Ethnicity, at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Melissa Walker
Executive Secretary, Association of Southern Women Historians; Professor of History, Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Web Site

Michelle Aranda, Web Site Designer
Design Aranda, San Diego, California

Brian Grogan, Web Site Producer
Mercy Seat Films

Susan Martin and Stephanie Saccone, Web Site Development
webbones, Richmond, Virginia

This web site was made possible in part by a grant from the
George Gund Foundation

(Photograph courtesy of Jackson-Davis Collection, University of Virginia)