Once Upon A Vision The Berea Story (2008) Host: Alex Haley • Produced & Directed by Terry Carter • Written by Richard D. Sears
A major social and educational experiment in race relations was conducted in Berea, Kentucky, from 1866 to 1904. During those years Berea contained a community, school, and church which were all fully integrated: white people, mostly from the Kentucky Appalachian region, and black people, former slaves and their children, from the Blue Grass country, lived, worked, and studied together in an atmosphere designed to foster social equality.
Richard Sears, Professor of English at Berea College in Kentucky, is the author of several books and articles dealing with the unique history of Berea, including the recent Kentucky Abolitionists in the Midst of Slavery and a well-known work of local history, Madison County: 200 Years in Retrospect. He also wrote the script for a public television production called Once Upon a Vision: The Story of Berea, 1854-1904, which was narrated by Alex Haley.
This one-hour television documentary reveals the little-known history of Berea, Kentucky, a unique 19th Century inter-racial colony founded in the midst of the slave-holding South. Before the Civil War, a group of zealous abolitionists and former slaves began building a community based on unconditional racial and gender equality and participatory democracy.
For more than half a century, withstanding intense persecution from slavers, pro-slavery politicians, and the Ku Klux Klan, these poor white and black settlers lived, and died for, their vision of multi-racial democracy. Hosted and narrated by historian and author Alex Haley with John Gregg Fee as the first president through the years of racial conflict. Accompanied by photographs of persons and scenes depicting incidents occurring through the years. A message by John B. Stephenson follows the presentation.