Civil Rights Author & Documentary Filmmaker
Veteran of the southern Civil Rights Movement and early staff worker with SNCC, Judy began her film work with the Academy Award-nominated, 14-hour PBS series, Eyes on the Prize, for which she was Series Associate Producer and Education Director. Her most recent documentary with Northern Light Productions, Scarred Justice (co-produced with Bestor Cram), aired nationally on PBS in 2010. It examines the 1968 Orangeburg, South Carolina student Massacre — one of the many overlooked incidents of violence of the Civil Rights Movement. Of it, Julian Bond said, "This masterful film casts a brilliant light on events shamefully obscured for decades." Howard Zinn agreed, "This hidden piece of history has now been brought to light in a powerful, passionate documentary."
Scarred Justice raises questions about an event that has yet to be resolved — the Orangeburg Massacre, which took place over two years before Kent State. On February 8, 1968, eight seconds of police gunfire left three young men dying and at least 27 wounded on the campus of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, S.C. All of the police were white, all of the students African-American. Almost all of the victims were shot from behind as they fled the gunfire that erupted without warning. The Massacre happened after four days of student protests to desegregate the city's only bowling alley. It was the first time ever police opened fire on students on a U.S. campus. This powerful and disturbing film presents the eyewitness accounts of both student protesters and police, interviews with former Governor Robert McNair, the prize-winning journalists who covered the story, and many others, provide a compelling account of the price paid in America's struggle for racial justice.
Besides Scarred Justice, Judy's recent productions include the 2-hour History Channel film, Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters and all the videos for the National Park Service's Little Rock Nine Visitor Center.
Along with five other SNCC women, Judy helped edit the anthology, Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, (University of Illinois Press, 2010). The book chronicles the courageous civil rights activism of fifty-two women on the front lines of the southern freedom movement during the 1960s.
Throughout her life she has worked for a number of social justice organizations and was director of information for the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice in New York, working on police brutality issues in New York City and Freedom Rides to the Alabama Black Belt to counter Reagan's Justice Department intimidation of African American voters. C-Span broadcast her speech to Leadership America.
Judy's writings have appeared in the academic journals Social Education and Public Historian; she lectures nationally and conducts professional development workshops for teachers — all focused on the Civil Rights Movement and its relevance to the issues we face today, fifty years after the first sit-ins.
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