And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. — Exodus 3:14.
Black History Month, when we appreciate the good that African-Americans have achieved, is upon us. This quote from Richard Wright’s “12 Million Black Voices” says it well: “The differences between black folk and white folk are not blood or color, and the ties that bind us are deeper than those that separate us. The common road of hope which we all traveled has brought us into a stronger kinship than any words, laws, or legal claims.”
It has been more than 150 years since America lived as a country that considered African-Americans less than animals. We were not human beings, and we had no rights! As we look back to go forward, it is my pleasure to share with you a new movie coming soon, in which yet another pivotal moment in African-American history will be on display.
History has documented how in slave quarters, African-Americans organized their own “invisible institutions.” Through signals, passwords, and messages not discernible to whites, they called believers to “hush harbors” where they freely mixed African rhythms, singing, and beliefs with evangelical Christianity. Filmmaker Monda Webb has weaved all of these details directly into her film script, titled “Red Clay Dirt,” which is about universal truths and choices. The theme is that knowledge and acceptance of your past makes you whole. The key to her book is that we must know who we are. Like Moses, who said, “I am that I am!”
We have little remaining written records of these religious gatherings. But it was here that spirituals, with their double meanings of religious salvation and freedom from slavery, developed and flourished. And here, too, that black preachers, those who believed that God had called them to speak his Word, polished their “chanted sermons,” or rhythmic, intoned style of extemporaneous preaching.
Join award-winning filmmaker Monda Raquel Webb, who seeks funds to shoot her second film, “Red Clay Dirt,” adapted from her book of short stories, “Red Clay Dirt & Mountains.” Loosely based on family history, “Red Clay Dirt” is the story of a broken, Northern woman who travels south to bury her great-grandmother. A prodigal daughter, Rosa trips over a huge tree root and goes back in time to get to the root of her insecurities. While in 1939, Rosa, who embodies the spirit of her great-aunt, faces the murky, muddled and misunderstood race relations of blacks and whites in southwest Georgia. A life-altering incident with the KKK serves as a catalyst for healing, self-worth and change.
Monda is passionate about promoting and preserving storytelling, and has made it her life mission of telling our stories worldwide through her production company, Little Known Stories. As the daughter of a theater mom and sociology-major dad, filmmaking is in Monda’s DNA. She’s an independent filmmaker dedicated to telling little known stories hidden in the crevices of history’s pages, committed to organic storytelling through a woman’s lens.
“Red Clay Dirt” will be filmed on location in Dawson, Georgia. All contributions are tax-deductible through Straight From the Heart Productions, a501 C3 dedicated to supporting burgeoning filmmakers. Visit her website for details.
Little Known Stories Production Company, LLC was formed to tell unknown stories bypassed in history. Monda’s first film, “Zoo: Volkerschau” is about a day in the life of an African girl on display for the first time in a human Zoo in Brussels during the World’s Fair in 1958. “Zoo” has won several national and international awards and Monda continues to speak at colleges and universities on how love can trump hate.
Hear even more about her new film proposal, as Monda Raquel Webb is my guest on “The Lyndia Grant Show” this Friday!
Lyndia Grant is the host of “Think on These Things,” a radio talk show on WYCB-AM, 1340, Fridays at 6 p.m. Contact her at 202-518-3192 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.