Black Ancestors : Booker Wright - Booker's Place

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story is a 2012 documentary film about Booker Wright, an African-American waiter who worked in a restaurant forwhites only. In 1965, Wright appeared in Mississippi: A Self Portrait, a short NBC television documentary about racism in the American South. During his interview with producer Frank De Felitta, he spoke openly about racism, and his treatment as a waiter in an all-white restaurant. The broadcast of his remarks had catastrophic consequences for Wright.

    Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story was directed by the son of Frank De Felitta, Oscar-nominated, independent filmmaker Raymond De Felitta,and co-produced by one of Booker Wright’s four grandchildren, Yvette Johnson. It includes interviews with those who lived in the community. They discuss life at the time, and the restaurant Wright owned, which catered to African-American customers.

    The documentary premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, 2012.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booker's_Place:_A_Mississippi_Story


    Starts @ 1:57>>>>>
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    The Booker Wright Project
    "Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity." Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


    TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2012

    Lloyd "Blackie" Cork was hired to kill my grandfather. Who hired him? I don't know. One lifelong Greenwood resident told me that a white cop hired Blackie to commit the murder. Interestingly, people who witnessed the murder are really uncomfortable talking about it. Even though Booker's Place had lots of customers that night and McLaurin Street was hopping with activity, only one person testified to actually seeing Blackie fire a gun. She's alive and she's avoiding me. The cop who pistol-whipped Booker Wright still lives just a short 45 minute drive from Greenwood.

    If I could drop this, I would. I don't want to create a story where there isn't one, but I also don't want to be naive and believe a tale that's full of holes. I have an indescribable, difficult to explain passion for my grandfather. My love for him is fierce. I am tormented by his murder, by the loss of a man who surely would've embraced me had he been given the chance. I'm trying to think of the word to describe my feelings. It's more than duty, it's more than feeling tasked, it's more than being compelled. I know that I may never get to the bottom of his murder. Or maybe I already have. Maybe the odd, yet simple story is the truth. What I know for certain, is that I won't have peace until I've done all that I can get to the truth.

    I'm hoping to sit down with Cork where he lives in a Mississippi State prison in late September to ask finally, face-to-face, exactly what happened that night. I hope to God that he tells me the truth.

    Posted by Yvette


    http://www.bookerwright.com/2012/07/who-killed-booker-wright.html
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Official Trailer - Yvette Johnson, Booker's grand-daughter....

     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014
    Anthony Bourdain - Parts Unknown

    I found out a little late that Booker's story, or at least part of it, was going to be included in one of Anthony Bourdain's food shows. Parts Unknown is the name of the show. I'm hoping to be able to get my hands on the episode to see it for myself, but I did hear that they aired Booker's monologue.

    I'm thrilled, beyond thrilled really, because more people are learning about his story. No one in my family even knew my grandfather made those statements until about seven years ago. He protected his daughters and my whole family from his thoughts and feelings about his work at Lusco's. When we finally found the footage it brought both joy and heartache. Joy because we could see him, moving and speaking and laughing. Heartache because of how much shame he endured every night just to make a living.

    I read Anthony's blog post about the Delta. Yes, it is an amazing place. It's virtually impossible to measure all the things we have as Americans that originated there. But like an Achilles heel, the history of slavery and the legacy of segregation will always be a part of the South's rich inheritance. The story of man's subjugation to man is written all over the Delta. It's painted on people's faces, it's in the space that often still separates whites and blacks, it's in their laws, their customs, and is an integral fiber in the every day lives of today's Mississippians.

    If you find yourself interested in the Mississippi Delta's rich, tragic past try not gawk as though observing a car wreck or even a horrifyingly beautiful work of art.

    Howard Zinn, one of the nation's most beloved historians, said the South is a mirror. When we look at her, we're seeing a concentrated version of the rest of the nation. The Mississippi Delta is not some random, scandal-ridden anomaly, a stain on our nation, and the excuse for why the state ranks last in almost every barometer that measures quality of life.

    The Delta is none of those things.

    What is it? It's us. It's all that we're capable of - good and bad. It's what is beautiful and tragic about the human spirit.

    It's really not all that different down there after all.

    http://www.bookerwright.com/


    Posted by Yvette
     
  5. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    You can either purchase this movie and/or watch it on Netflix.
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    http://www.bookerwright.com/p/some-background.html

    Background

    In the early 1960s, Frank De Felitta was disturbed by the way he saw blacks being treated in the Delta, so in 1965 he took a film crew to Greenwood, Mississippi with the intention of giving white Mississippians an opportunity to explain, in their own words, what they felt towards the blacks living in their midst. De Felitta collected those interviews in a moving, poignant, sometimes disturbing, yet surprisingly hopeful documentary called Mississippi: A Self-Portrait.

    One of the people Frank interviewed was my grandfather, a man named Booker Wright. In a short, two minute monologue, Booker described with vulnerability and bravery what it felt like to be on the receiving end of racism. It would be a year before Frank’s documentary would air, but when it did, almost every major newspaper in the country published an article about it, and most of them included quotes from Booker Wright.

    After the piece aired, in 1966, Booker was pistol whipped by a white police officer, and his job of 25 years was over.

    Most blacks living in Greenwood at the time did not own television sets, so while his statement became legendary in the white community, it went almost unnoticed among Greenwood blacks. Furthermore, Booker made the choice not to tell his children what he’d done.

    I was born the year after my grandfather died and, when I was two years-old, my family moved to San Diego, California where my father played professional football. I grew up knowing next to nothing about my grandfather and the small town of Greenwood. I didn't know that I came from a past of abject poverty and rampant illiteracy, because I grew up with luxury cars and endless opportunities.

    After having two sons of my own, I decided that I needed to learn more about what I came from, so I started conducting family interviews. I quickly learned the story about my grandfather’s appearance in the news, and I started this blog to document both my search to find that footage and my efforts to uncover the story of a man who, at the time, seemed more like a myth to me.

    In 2011, I was contacted by Frank De Felitta’s son, Raymond. He had the footage of Booker Wright speaking to the news crew. He shared it with me and the two of us set out on an adventure in the Delta. Raymond wanted to understand the journey his father had taken and to explore the impact his father’s film had onGreenwood and on my family. I wanted to rebuild the story of a man who, for reasons I could not explain, felt more real to me than the people I interacted with every day.

    Our parallel journeys are told in a documentary that Raymond directed and I co-produced called, Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story.

    I'm working on a larger book called Searching for Booker Wright, that will tell the tragic and moving story of Booker’s life, from the plantation he grew up on, to the juke joint he ran, to his senseless murder which robbed me of the opportunity of ever truly knowing my hero.
     
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