Will Campbell was one of three men who shepherded the Little Rock Nine through an angry white mob before the National Guard was federalized. He was the only white man at the founding of SCLC. He was a friend and confidant of Martin Luther King, Andrew Young, John Lewis and others, and worked as a strategist and negotiator at every major civil rights campaign of the movement. “He was”, according to David Halberstam, “a walking nerve center--enormously important, but so deft and nimble that the reactionaries never caught on to him. His fingers were everywhere, but when you looked around there were no fingerprints.”
This was an unusual role for a Baptist preacher from rural Mississippi. But Campbell, who had been ordained at the age of 17, came to view civil rights as an extension of Christianity, and after finishing a divinity degree at Yale, he abandoned the pulpit, but not the faith when he became a free lance operative for the National Council of Churches charged with doing whatever he thought appropriate to promote racial cooperation in the south.
His primary focus continues to be directed toward racial reconciliation, but he has also concerned himself with the interests which his fellow working class whites share with their black countrymen. He is by nature a populist, but mistrusts politics. His positions, like his life, defy conventional characterizations. He campaigns against the death penalty, war, and abortion. He supports the rights of women, gays, and blacks and approves of affirmative action, but mistrusts the power of government. And while preaching his radical Christianity, he saves his harshest words for the religious establishment, disdaining the Christian Coalition and referring to televangelists as “electronic soul molesters.”
Since the late 1960’s Campbell has also turned his focus to writing. He is the author of 14 books including Brother To A Dragonfly, the 1977 winner of the Lillian Smith prize and finalist for the National Book Award. He has numbered among his literary friendships Robert Penn Warren, Walker Percy, Alex Haley, Studs Turkel, and Jules Feiffer. He has, himself, been the subject of two books, and numerous articles in Life, Esquire, and other publications.
Short documentary on the fascinating story of how John Newton wrote the most famous hymn in the world...and helped bring about one of the most powerful social justice movements in the history of Western Civilization. Documentary was researched and written by Dr. Devin Brown. It was produced with Asbury University Media Com students and an Asbury Art Dept student under the direction of Prof. Greg Bandy. The original score was composed by Matthew Oxley.
Produced by Emblem Media in collaboration with Brian Oxley
and the Asbury University Communication Arts Department.
Watch “The Creation: The Earth is a Witness,” a day-by-day account of the biblical creation week, beginning with darkness before God created light and ending with Moses, the author of the Genesis account of creation, and his son, worshipping God on the seventh-day Sabbath. Seventh-day Adventist filmmaker Henry Stober spent four years filming the movie around the world.
Equipped with two Hasselblad 500c/m cameras and a borrowed Polaroid 100 back, we shot 120 film mostly in Tempelhof and in Mitte during our July 2011 visit to Berlin, Germany. Soundtrack by Nosaj Thing.