Lamont Jack Pearley
I stumbled upon this documentary with my wife some time ago. I can’t really remember what triggered us to watch it, but what I do remember was it was not only a great piece of documented heritage of the African American story, it falls in line with the Jack Dappa Blues Mission statement. It celebrates our heritage and preserves Blues history.
Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, composed by Christian McBride and executive Produced/Co Directed by S. Epatha Merkerson “The Contradictions of Fair Hope” is about the 4 million freed slaves roaming the antebellum, many of them are ill prepared and unable to cope with the realities of their newfound freedom in 1865 rural Alabama. The Film traces the development, struggles, contributions and gradual loss of tradition of one of the last remaining African American benevolent societies, known as “The Fair Hope Benevolent Society” in Uniontown, Alabama.
To Quote the bio – “Through gripping human stories of some of the last surviving society members and interviews with historians and local residents, the film provides an unprecedented look at the complex and morally ambiguous world of Fair Hope juxtaposed against the worldly pleasures of what has become known as the annual “Foot Wash” celebration.”
To me this film shows the rise of a progressive Black Community, and it’s harsh fall with the help of outside influences and the loss of self respect and pride. It also shows how money and inclusion changes the views on tradition, generation and legacy.
As a folklorist, Blues Musician and Media Producer..I suggest this film to be in your collection….as a fan of great stories and one who loves history…I’d suggest this is something to watch with the family.