BY NICOLE WEBB
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY—At Thursday, April 4, 2013’s convocation, The Lincoln University faculty members Melvin Leaman and Nicole Files-Thompson previewed the production of their upcoming feature-length documentary Lincoln Men and Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary.
The upcoming documentary is a part of an interdisciplinary study, funded by the university, to display the contribution of four Lincoln University graduates, Milton Henry, Milton Glamison, Lonnie Cross and James Monroe King Warden, to the Civil Rights Movement and their experiences alongside civil rights activist, Malcolm X.
The documentary takes viewers through the beginnings of these four Lincoln graduates, starting at the university, through their activism during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
“I think it’s amazing; its also astonishing to even believe that there really is so much history invested in the ground that we walk on,” reflected Maurice Myers, a senior and assisting editor of the documentary. “Most of the students that worked on this project were originally working as a means of finishing our internships hours. This project turned into so much more for us; it became a learning experience.
The project began in the spring semester of 2013 after a visit from Monroe, also known as “James 67 X,” a 1958 graduate of the university. Monroe is noted as Malcolm X’s secretary during his time of political and civil activism.
“I remember reading so much on James 67 X, researching for my ‘Martin and Malcolm’ class that I teach here. I kept seeing him mention Lincoln, which sparked the curiosity and then I found out he was a 1958 graduate,” reflected Leaman, a professor of the university’s Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy. “After James 67 X’s visit, we received a grant from the university to research the connection between Lincoln and the life of Malcolm X and all the information we found, we tried to showcase in the film.”
After spending the summer of 2013 in New York, traveling to interview anyone associated with Malcolm and the university, the documentary includes footage of Leaman’s interviews with James 67 X, Shannon Henry Robinson, Milton Henry’s daughter, and other interviews and documentary footage from previous works produced reflecting the life of Malcolm.
During the university’s convocation, it was explained that it was The Lincoln University that Malcolm traveled to before his first and last formal meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. in March of 1964.
“It’s crazy to think that a man of such stature, the Malcolm X, once walked this gravel; he walked this pavement before shaking the hand of Dr. King,” reflected Student Government Association Secretary Alicia Robinson, a junior. “I was saying to myself during convocation, Malcolm X walked across this campus and now here I am. Dr. King spoke here and now I’m here. That’s something to be in awe of.”
The premiere of the documentary’s preview provoked not only reflection of the university’s history, but also motivated students to appreciate the culture and impact that the university offers to its students and the world around them.
“I believe that this documentary proves that Lincoln was and continues to be involved in social change; we are social change agents and it was an honor to have been able to contribute to this project,” Kita Williams, a sophomore attending the university and narrator of the documentary.
“The greatness of these men, [including Malcolm], cannot be merged into this one documentary,” reflected Leaman.
The documentary’s executive producer, Nicole Files-Thompson, a faculty member of the university Mass Communications department stated that film will be promoted and pushed to national recognition.
“Our hope is that by the time all the editing is finished that we can release the documentary to a mainstream platform as big as PBS. Material, research and work such as this should be recognized; it’s a part of our history,” said Files-Thompson.
The feature-length version of the documentary is anticipated to be completed and released in the summer of 2014.