Boston-based filmmaker Clennon L. King will screen his latest documentary about a Black New Jersey mother who, five years after Emmett Till, mounted a 26-month fight to rescue her son from a Georgia town notorious for lynching. Sponsored by the Friends of the Needham Public Library, the screening is set for Sunday, November 18, at 2 p.m. in the library's Community Room.
While JFK was making a White House run in May 1960, a 24-year-old Black Navy vet from Bayonne, New Jersey joined a friend on a road trip home. Little did James Fair, Jr. know how ill-timed his arrival in rural Early County, Georgia would be. Less than three days later, he’d find himself behind bars, convicted for the rape and murder of an 8-year old girl, and facing Georgia’s electric chair.
“Fair Game: Surviving A 1960 Georgia Lynching” chronicles the 26-month campaign spearheaded by Alice Fair to rescue her son from a county notorious for lynching. Dedicated to the 24 known Black men who were lynched in Early County, Georgia between 1877 and 1950, the documentary is a tribute to the Boston-based filmmaker’s late father, attorney C.B. King of Albany, Georgia, who fought to prevent James Fair, Jr. from becoming the 25th victim.
“When I began shooting this film, I had no idea that Blakely, Georgia was home to the second largest number of lynchings in the state,” said the filmmaker. “It’s no wonder the families of Cissy and Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick left and relocated to New Jersey as part of the Great Migration.”
“Fair Game” marks King’s second documentary. His first, the award-winning “Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America,” won the Henry Hampton Award of Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival.
King will introduce his documentary, followed by a post-screening discussion and Q&A. The film's trailer can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/232414335.