Social Science Week to feature documentary director

A documentary filmmaker who chronicled a Southwest Georgia lynching town’s attempt to kill a black Tampa native in 1960 will speak about the Jim Crow era then and now to highlight Social and Behavioral Sciences Week at the Downtown Center the week after Spring Break.

Clennon King, son of a Georgia civil rights crusader, will speak to students and faculty from 12:30 to 2 p.m. March 21 in the American Stage Theater at the Downtown Center. That evening, he will screen the film Fair Game: Surviving A 1960 Georgia Lynching and lead a community conversation on the racism of the Jim Crow era and that of today. That program will be at Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Presented by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and co-sponsored by the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Eckerd College and Legacy 56 Inc., the film tells the story of Tampa native James Fair Jr. who, in 1960, was arrested, jailed, tried, convicted and sentenced to Georgia’s electric chair in less than three days, for a rape and murder he didn’t commit.

The film documents the 26-month fight by Fair’s mother for justice for her son in an eerie re-enactment of Mamie Till Bradley’s fight for justice for her murdered son Emmett Till five years earlier. It is dedicated to the 24 known black men who were lynched in Early County, Ga., between 1877 and 1950. It is also a tribute to King’s late father, Attorney C.B. King of Albany, Ga., who fought to prevent Fair from becoming the 25th victim and who also defended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (no relation) in court during the civil rights leader’s non-violent protests.

 The documentary-maker said he hopes the film helps audiences “come away with a sense of James Fair’s ordeal and a clear sense of the connection between the enslavement, lynching and the current-day over-incarceration of black people.”  

Moderating the afternoon event for students and the community conversation in the evening will be Professor Kimberly Jackson, Chair of Social and Behavioral Science at Downtown/Midtown. Also on stage with King will be one of Fair’s sisters, Audrey Fair Porte of Kissimmee, who grew up with him and ultimately cared for him until his death.

Admission to the evening program is free, but advance registration is requested at solutions.spcollege.edu.

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