Alabama Public Television (APT) did an excellent job on its documentary on the life story of Clifford and Virginia Durr. The film, “The Durrs of Montgomery,” covered events from the Great Depression through the New Deal to the Anti-Communist Hunt – and finally to the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. and Mrs. Durr, who were from Montgomery, were active participants in some of the most historic events of the 20th Century. The APT documentary tells the most interesting story of this remarkable and courageous couple. The story is told by way of interviews with historians, oral history recordings and trips into the archives. The result was a portrait of a couple who lived lives of principle and integrity.
Clifford and Virginia Durr were part of an era that most Alabamians would most likely rather forget. But it’s important not to forget what happened during the Civil Rights fight in Alabama and in the rest of the country. We can learn from the tragic mistakes of the past and that’s important today and for our future. It was a period of time when many Alabamians closed their eyes to the inhumane treatment of black folks in our state and the many wrongs committed. Some of our elected officials of that era were largely responsible for what happened in Alabama. Sadly, while they were helped politically, they hurt our state badly.
We need more folks today like Clifford and Virginia Durr, a couple who weren’t afraid to swim against the current for a just cause. I firmly believe that this couple, even though they paid the consequences for their beliefs and actions at the time, helped chart the course of a more just and equitable society.
Among his many commitments supporting a just society, Clifford Durr’s service during the 1930’s on the newly formed Federal Communications Commission left a lasting legacy to the nation. His insistence on reserving air rights for public broadcasting, and his admonishment to guard the separation of church and state in public broadcasting, shaped the future of National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System in the United States. In commemoration of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and Clifford Durr’s legacy to public broadcasting nationally, “The Durrs of Montgomery” was broadcast on APT, the nation’s first statewide educational television network, in October. It will be shown again on November 1, 12, 18, and 22.
Viewers who missed the broadcasts of “The Durrs of Montgomery” in October and who don’t see it this month can stream the documentary from APT’s website at http://video.aptv.org/program/alabama-public-television-documentaries/. This posting, through the PBS COVE system, enables any affiliate PBS station that so chooses to stream the documentary from its own website. If you haven’t seen the APT documentary, I strongly recommend that you do so. It will brighten your day and renew your faith in humanity!
Source: APT Letter
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