A Collective Effort

A Collective Effort


Vol. 19, No. 1, 1997 pp. 2, 26

With this issue, Southern Changes celebrates the SRC’s civil rights radio documentary series, Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Perhaps even more than most documentary productions, the radio series represents a collective enterprise. The person who was primarily in charge of the planning was not the person who was primarily in charge of the scripting, and the person who was in charge of the actual pilot programs and now the final programs was not the person who was involved in the original ideas.

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Part of the series’s continuity was the steady involvement of people from beginning to end who had the notion of what the basic contribution of the radio series should be. Among these people are Randall Williams, publisher of Black Belt Press in Montgomery, Alabama, who helped conceive the project, served as an early project director, and conducted interviews. Worth Long, a folklorist and former SNCC activist, also served as an early project director and continued to conduct interviews and serve as a project consultant for the series up until the time of broadcast. Greg Bass, of Boutwell Studios in Birmingham, Alabama, was an early technical advisor.

Former SRC executive director, Steve Suitts, originated the concept of Will The Circle Be Unbroken? and has guided program development, oral histories, and fundraising for the series since its inception in 1979.

Producer George King came on board to write scripts for the radio series in 1991, produce six pilot programs in 1993, and was appointed project director to produce and supervise the distribution of the series in 1995.

Among the scholars who were a part of the project over the long haul are Paul Gaston, a professor of Southern history at the University of Virginia; Barbara Woods, a professor of history at South Carolina State University; Grace Jordan McFadden, a current affiliate and former associate professor of history and Director of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina; Raymond Gavins, a professor of history at Duke University; Cliff Kuhn, a professor of history at Georgia State University; John Dittmer, a professor of history at Depauw University; Mills Thornton, a professor of history at the University of Michigan; Allen Tullos, a professor with the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University; and Julian Bond, a long-time activist and statesman and now a professor of history at the University of Virginia and a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University in Washington, DC. Bond wrote the Prologue and Epilogue to the series.

An ever-changing group of people have done loyal and hard work on the series–Kim Springer, Laura Hudgens, Genie Barringer, Arma Benoit, Connie Curry, Hilda Dent, Mimi Eisenberg, Winston Grady-Willis, Patricia Newman, Dihane Hayes, Pat Williams, Lisa Pertiller Brevard, Ellen Barnard, Sylvia Jackson, Katie Shellman, Narcel Reedus, Marge Manderson, Dot Hughley, David Dreger, and Ellen Spears, to name a few. Thanks to the outreach, publicity, and marketing team of Dan Gediman, Marge Ostroushko and Deborah Blakeley. SRC’s executive director, Wendy Johnson, has been instrumental in helping to raise funds.