The Final Product

After about a month of interviews, scripting and editing, my group has completed our project on The Great Migration.

First up: the short documentary. Mrs. Inel Jefferson provided us with her memories and Kyla, Vinny, and myself have captured them on film. Below is the end result.

As an active member of Germantown’s community, Mrs. Jefferson drives to where she needs to go. Below is a slide show with narration, which details this aspect of Mrs. Jefferson’s life.

If video-watching isn’t your style, I’ve written a blog post about Mrs. Jefferson’s life:

Mrs. James Inel Jefferson, a petite woman in a polka dotted shirt and a pair of flashy pearl earrings, wrung her aged hands as her mind revisited memories from over 90 years ago. It didn’t take long for Mrs. Jefferson to conjure up images of her father’s tobacco and peanut farms where many of her childhood memories take place.

Those farms in Mrs. Jefferson’s memory are in Ahoski, N.C., where she lived with her family until she was five years old. In 1920, Mrs. Jefferson’s father grew tired of farming and relocated the family to Philadelphia, Pa.

The move the Jefferson family made from the South to the North occurred at the beginnings of The Great Migration when a surge of Southern Blacks moved to escape racism and seek employment in the industrious cities of the North.

Mrs. Jefferson’s family is of French and Cherokee heritage, and though Mrs. Jefferson does not consider herself a part of The Great Migration, her life’s story contains elements that parallel what the African American community experienced during this crucial time in America’s history.

After moving to Philadelphia, Mrs. Jefferson was enrolled in public school. She lived in a diverse section of West Philadelphia, and rarely was a victim of the racial divide because her family had white or very light brown skin.

Mrs. Jefferson today

Young Mrs. Jefferson was happy to be living in a city buzzing with life, and soon after graduating high school, Mrs. Jefferson married her first husband and had her son.

The couple was married for ten years before their divorce. Later, Mrs. Jefferson married her second husband, and they remained married for 50 years until his passing.

Though Mrs. Jefferson was not black, her tan skin tone may have inspired an act of racism against her and her second husband while on vacation.

While on a bus, four white military men told Mrs. Jefferson and her Black husband to sit in the seats in the back. Mrs. Jefferson responded that if there were seats in the back that the military men should sit there instead.

The military men remained standing next to the Jeffersons, but Mrs. Jefferson refused to change her seat. The men eventually grew tired and left the Jeffersons alone.

This anecdote is an example of the segregation that minorities faced during the middle of the twentieth century. Social segregation remained despite the abolition of legal segregation, as explained in The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.

Mrs. Jefferson was an avid bowler in her adult years. She participated bowling leagues and earned many trophies for her talents.

Mrs. Jefferson grew old with her second husband in Philadelphia. The couple owned and oversaw various properties around the city.

Mrs. Jefferson currently lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. She volunteers at Center in the Park almost everyday; its her way of giving back to the city she’s called home for so long.

Mrs. Jefferson at Center in the Park.


4 responses to “The Final Product

  1. Pingback: Personalizing the Great Migration: The story of Inel Jefferson « Last Chance Power Drive

  2. Huntly Collins

    Hi Emily,
    Your descriptive lead, which gives us a vivid physical description of Jefferson, is effective. You need to get to this immediately, instead of describing the group process, which should be cut out.
    Also need to include direct or indirect quotes from Jefferson so the text can be a stand-alone story.
    You do a good job of weaving in background on the Great Migration.
    But the text needs a focus. Based on your reporting, the focus might be a woman who, because of her light skin color, has lived between two worlds, black and white. That would allow you to include other incidents related to race such as the story of the movie theater and the story of her newborn baby.
    Your text also raises some unanswered but important questions. For instance, how old is Jefferson? And what did she do for a living in Philly? Or did she have the luxury of not working outside the home becuase she and her husband owned properties?

  3. Huntly Collins

    Correction: My fault, Emily. The movie incident involved Marty Young, not Inel Jefferson. Please ignore my reference to that.

  4. On the video, try to vary the shots more–maybe start with an establishing shot of the room.

    Don’t show her talking while you are narrating.

    Watch the levels–they jump around a bit.

    Good choice of anecdotes–the first grade, the inkwells.

    Good historic photos–bus + soldiers.

    A key part is the discussion of the Great migration itself, but that portion is hard to hear.
    On the slideshow, you have a good tone and pacing to your narration.

    Nice segue into the section on mobility.

    Music might help. Also you should each create your own text slides.

    At least explain in the credits who did the text slides, plus whose pictures, etc.

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