I covered the basics of Fort Hill's black history in a post for Black History Month 2 years ago. But of course, there's much more to the black history of Fort Hill than I could ever fit in a single post. What better way to learn about black history than to celebrate one of our neighborhood's most prominent black historians, Henry Hampton of Blackside Media?
Mr. Hampton, although born in St. Louis, lived much of his adult life at the sprawling compound on Lambert Street now occupied by Garden Girl Patti Moreno and her husband Robert Patton Spruill. With Blackside, he became one of the nation's top minority documentary film-makers. His groundbreaking Eyes on the Prize documentary series is the definitive history of the Civil Rights movement. If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of the series on DVD.
Besides Eyes on the Prize, he was also the producer of many other critically acclaimed documentaries including Malcolm X: Make it Plain. For his work, he was awarded 14 honorary degrees, including one from Northeastern. He was also the recipient of dozens of awards, not least of which were 7 Emmys, an Oscar nomination, the Heinz Award, and many others. And as if that wasn't enough, he was the Chair of the Board at the Museum of Afro-American History and served on the board of several other charitable organizations.
This black history month, why not tie in a Fort Hill connection by learning about black history through one Mr. Hampton's many documentaries? You can start for free by watching Make it Plain on YouTube, or get yourself a copy of Eyes on the Prize from PBS.