Tuesday, March 5, 2013

'Wait No Longer' a Kathleen Bobak & Elizabeth Copley Film Project

Sharing their dream with the whole world, 
Kathleen and Elizabeth are passionate on their 'in-progress' film project as well as the cast! 
  "This story needs to be told. Kids of today need to know this history." Says Elizabeth Copely (Writer & Producer)
Kathleen Bobak came up with this concept nearly 3 years ago. It will be 2 years this Spring that  Ms. Copley has been researching & nearly a year of writing and completing the script since last May. They are positive that this film will be made and will be successful.
A story of a young African American boy... 
Daniel Walker, a black teenage boy from St. Augustine, Florida with dreams of having more than his predecessors, friends and neighbors finds himself in a segregationist hotbed of hatred and violence during the civil rights movement in what is celebrated as America’s Oldest City.
These two ladies plan on having a premier screening on July 2, 2014 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Synopsis of this film:

Wait No Longer, a narrative feature, tells the story of the civil rights movement as it happened in St. Augustine, Florida, through the eyes of African American teenagers who were credited with the movement’s epic events facilitating the passage and subsequent signing into law of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.   Wait No Longer is inspired by actual events.  Fictional characters have been created for dramatic effect. 
In the same vein as Mississippi Burning, Ghosts of Mississippi and The Help, Wait No Longer addresses the plight of segregation in the Deep South and the efforts of the civil rights movement to nonviolently demonstrate in support of equal rights – the right to eat in a restaurant and not be relegated to the back, safely desegregate schools, churches, water fountains, restrooms, beaches and the right to better paying jobs.  The passage of the Civil Rights Act also paved the way for women and other minorities.
On July 23, 1963, four black teenagers were sentenced indefinitely to state reform schools after demonstrating at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in St. Augustine, Florida. 17-year-old Daniel Walker, along with his 16 year-old sister, Sissy, watched helplessly from the back of the courtroom as his young cousin, one of the four, was imprisoned simply because he wanted the right to have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter and not in the back of the store.
Daniel, a smart, easy-going kid studied hard and made good grades in his all black high school while selling newspapers on street corners to help supplement his widowed mother’s income.
In January 1964, Florida Governor Ferris Bryant, under immense media pressure, released the four teenagers now known as the “St. Augustine Four.” Daniel was shaken to his core when he saw his gaunt, defeated cousin upon his arrival home from prison. Daniel tutored him daily to help him catch up.
February 10th, 1964 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act. Joy and celebration swept through St. Augustine’s black community. Through clandestine action, the Klan was informed of their celebrations – KKK national leadership returned to help St. Augustine segregationists squash the movement.
The House passage of the bill emboldened the black community, especially the teenagers. More and more demonstrations took place at segregated establishments - stores, restaurants and churches.
On a sunny, spring afternoon, Daniel, now 18 was at his usual street corner selling the evening edition of the local newspaper, the St. Augustine Register, to mostly whites as they drove home from work when he is confronted by three white teenage bullies. Their leader, the son of a St. Augustine deputy sheriff and member of the Klan, had been watching Daniel closely, but had never physically threatened him. They discovered new textbooks issued to Daniel by his school - that was all the excuse they needed to beat him within an inch of his life.
On March 30, 1964, southern senators initiated a filibuster against the civil rights bill that would last for the next 72 days. The SCLC called upon white desegregation leaders from the northeast to come to St. Augustine to assist with their nonviolent marches. Busloads of northern whites and blacks – many college-­‐aged students on spring break – arrived in St. Augustine in time for the Easter holiday.
Daniel became angrier and had no tolerance for anyone white and was particularly suspect of a northern college student, Edward Walsh, 19, who had come to St. Augustine for the Easter Week marches and then returned for the summer to work in the movement. Edward had become friends with Sissy, but Daniel would not accept it. Even the gentle, sage wisdom of Barbara Allen could not get through to him.

Young blacks and whites marched together to integrate public and private establishments at night and St. Augustine’s all white beaches during the day. Local and state police made so many arrests the St. John’s County jails overflowed to the point of having to devise outdoor makeshift jails known as the “chicken coops.” Inmates sat in the hot sun for days on end.
Daniel and Sissy avoided arrest. Their greatest fear was not being thrown in jail, but the wrath of their mother if they were. As the spring and summer wore on, Sissy became more involved in the movement. She matured and began to find her own way with the support of her white friend, Edward, and Barbara Allen. She could no longer tolerate being smothered by her brother and mother.
The senate filibuster ended on June 10, 1964 and on June 11, Dr. King and Reverend Ralph Abernathy were arrested as they tried to integrate the restaurant at the Monson Motor Lodge. The charge was “...attempting to lunch while being black.” Their arrest sent Daniel into a tailspin.
With Edward and another white integrationist’s help, a “swim-in”  was staged at the Monson Motor Lodge all white swimming pool for June 18, 1964. Edward and his friend Al waited in the pool and while a staged “pray-in” was conducted in the front of the motel, Daniel, Sissy and three young black males jumped into the pool. The infuriated motel manager, James Brock, poured gallon jugs of muriatic acid into the pool with the swimmers. Daniel, Sissy and the rest of the swimmers were arrested.  All of this was caught on video and photographed by the press.
On the morning of June 19, 1964, the front page of newspapers around the globe displayed a photograph of Brock pouring the acid into the pool with the swimmers in the foreground; that photograph confronted senators as they made their way into the Capitol. That same day, the senate passed the civil rights bill and President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964.
Daniel and his young cousin finally had a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter.  In peace.

1964 AP Photo of the exact riot shot for the teaser - the riot then....
...and now

Police using force, along with police dogs, to hold back the segregationists from attacking the protesting integrationists.

Beach riot shoot - two "SCLC" ministers leading the protesters in prayer prior to their attempt to integrate St. Augustine Beach.  Angry segregationists heavily guarded by state police wait in the background
This is Maude Burroughs Jackson playing the role of the grandmother of one of the St. Augustine Four.  Maude actually participated in the St. Augustine civil rights movement as a 19-year-old.  She was arrested 3 times, spent several days in the "chicken coops" (outdoor makeshift jails to accommodate for the overflow of those arrested) and cooked Dr. King a steak dinner one night.  She is just amazing, beautiful inside and out and a wealth of knowledge and history.  She's been interviewed by all our local television affiliates as well as CNN. 
Daniel and Sissy Walker (main characters)
Brett Rice playing Judge Charles Mathis with the actors playing the St. Augustine Four.

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