The Dallas Examiner
Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten is a controversial documentary that reveals the incidents surrounding the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina that resulted in the false prosecution of eight Black male students, a White female community organizer, and fiery civil rights activist, Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., for protesting racial injustice.
The exclusive showing of the film will be presented by The Dallas Examiner and the African American Museum on Feb. 3. It will feature a viewing of the film followed by a special guest panel to help tell the complete story of the Wilmington Ten and how it relates to Dallas’ history.
Interviews in the film include Gov. Beverly Perdue, who tells how powerful people across the state of North Carolina tried to stop her from granting pardons of innocence to the Wilmington 10; Joseph McNeil, Wilmington native and member of the legendary Greensboro Four, who tells why Black students had to stand up for freedom and against racism during the 1960s and 70s; Dr. Chavis leader of the Wilmington Ten, who relives the events that led up to that racially violent week in Wilmington in February 1971; Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, recalling how he and other clergy from the United Church of Christ came to Raleigh in 1977 and met with then Gov. James Hunt to implore him to pardon the Wilmington Ten, only to be rejected.
The documentary also traces how the Black Press, led initially by Wilmington Journal publisher Thomas C. Jervay Sr. – and over 40 years later by his daughter, publisher/editor Mary Alice Jervay Thatch – pushed for the official exoneration of the group.
The film was produced by CashWorks HD Productions and the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
Following the film, the panel discussion will include: Chavis; Cash Michaels, an award-winning filmmaker and producer of the featured film; and Commissioner John Wiley Price, a long-time activists and Dallas historian.
The program is free and will start at 1 p.m. at the African American Museum, located at 3536 Grand Ave.