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Fair Game: Surviving a 1960 Georgia Lynching

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Registration is required
Members $15 and Non-members $20

Fair Game: Surviving a 1960 Georgia Lynching

Clennon King

The reception for this event begins at 5:30 pm. The movie begins at 6:00 pm, at which time the bar will close.

Join documentary filmmaker Clennon King for a screening of Fair Game: Surviving a 1960 Georgia Lynching followed by a discussion of the film. While John F. Kennedy was making a run for the White House in May 1960, James Fair, Jr.—a 24-year-old black Navy veteran from Bayonne, New Jersey—made a fateful pitstop in rural Early County, Georgia, on a roadtrip to Florida. In just three days, he had been arrested, tried, and convicted for the rape and murder of an 8-year old girl and had been sentenced to Georgia’s electric chair. Fair Game chronicles the 26-month campaign that Alice Fair spearheaded to rescue her son from a county notorious for lynching.

The documentary is dedicated to the 24 known black men who were lynched in Early County, Georgia, between 1877 and 1950. It is a tribute to King’s late father, Attorney C.B. King of Albany, Georgia, who fought to prevent Fair from becoming the 25th victim. Featuring Clinton presidential advisor Vernon Jordan, who was a law clerk on the case, and George H. W. Bush cabinet secretary Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, who hails from the Georgia town where the case unfolded, the 65-minute film offers a vivid portrait of Jim Crow justice of 60 years ago, serves as a reminder of the inequities that still exist within America’s criminal justice system, and provides a thoughtful point of departure to discuss the imperative for America to make a change.  

Clennon King is a documentary filmmaker and founder of AugustineMonica Films, based in Roxbury, Massachusetts. King’s first documentary is the award-winning Passage at St. Augustine: A 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement that Transformed America. Central to both films are race, history, and civil rights, an interest he comes by honestly. He hails from a prominent civil rights family in Albany, Georgia, where his father, the late attorney C.B. King, represented scores of civil rights demonstrators, including Dr. King (no relation), during the 1961-62 Albany Movement.

King’s formal training includes earning an English degree at Tulane in New Orleans, studying law at University College, University of London in England and, later, film at New York University’s Graduate School of Film and Television. King segued into journalism, launching a career that spanned more than two decades, including reporting for NBCNews.com, the Florida Times-Union, and the Boston Globe among others. He was an on-air TV reporter for network affiliates in Dallas (KXAS), Atlanta (WSB), Miami (WSVN), Jacksonville (WTLV/WJXX, Mobile (WALA), and Boston (WGBH). His awards include an Emmy nomination from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Suncoast Chapter, a regional and national Edward R. Murrow Award, and a National Association of Black Journalists' news award. King's reporting on race has also been recognized by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

This event is the second program in the three-part “Undermining Racism” series, which presents thoughtful examinations of people who found ways to navigate, undermine, and change a system designed to limit African Americans’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Join us on January 31 for a lecture on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ethical and political thought by Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies Brandon M. Terry and on March 7 for a presentation on Steeplechase Film’s documentary Driving While Black: African Americans on the Road in the Era of Jim Crow with Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, the film’s senior historical advisor.

Clennon King conducted research for Fair Game at the Boston Athenæum, where he spent time on the fifth floor in the local history sections for New Jersey and Georgia. Stop by 5G on your next visit to browse the Cutter 968s (New Jersey) and 96X-es (Georgia) to learn more about the history of the states that figured in James Fair, Jr.’s life.

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Most programs held in the Henry Bayard Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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