Documentary to honor local civil rights activists

Florida A&M students found themselves at the center of the civil rights movement with the 1956 bus boycott and the 1960 lunch counter sit-ins.

The public will be able to follow these two historical moments during the one-hour viewing of “Footsteps to Freedom,” a documentary highlighting civil rights activists, at 6:30 p.m. at the City Commission Chambers.

The film will look at how students and black leaders in Tallahassee led the way to desegregation and equality against threats, violence and jail time.

“The documentary is a part of the city of Tallahassee’s continued commitment to memorialize historical events,” said Angeline Taylor, a public information specialist with the city of Tallahassee. “In this case, the 1956 Tallahassee bus boycott and the 1960s lunch counter sit-ins.”

Eric Wright, a FAMU alumnus and co-organizer of Falling Black in Love – a movement promoting growth in the black community – said it’s important that the public remember what events took place for Americans to have freedom.

“This documentary is important because people need to be reminded that the cost of freedom is very high,” Wright said. “We must show gratitude to those who came before us. People should leave the viewing knowing the struggle is not over and there is still much work to be done.”

The documentary, created by WCOT station manager Tom Bronakoski, will also recall the process of creating the Tallahassee-Leon County Civil Rights Heritage Walk that was unveiled in September.

Priscilla Kruize, one of the activists featured in the film, said she hopes the documentary will appeal to the younger generation.

“Anything to help us with our history, I’m always for it,” Kruize said. “Black history is not as important to the 2014 teenager as it was to the 1960 teenager. We’ve morphed more than we’ve gained.”

The documentary will be available to the public online after its debut. The film will also run throughout February on WCOT.