Must See Film: “Fair Game: Surviving A 1960 Georgia Lynching”
February 4 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmFree to the public
“Fair Game: Surviving A 1960 Georgia Lynching”
will make its New Jersey debut in the hometown of the Navy vet James Fair, Jr. of Bayonne, New Jersey.
The ancestral Georgia home of Cissy and Whitney Houston, and cousin, Dionne Warwick serves as the backdrop of a new documentary about a Black New Jersey vet who was nearly lynched there.
Three 7 p.m. screenings will be held, beginning:
- Monday, February 4, 2019 at the Fair’s family church of Friendship Baptist Church, 41 W 20th St, Bayonne, NJ 07002.
- Tuesday, February 5, 2019, the Bayonne Board of Education, where Fair attended school, will host a screening and discussion at Bayonne Public Library, 697 Avenue C, Bayonne, NJ 07002. New Jersey City University will host the final screening and discussion on Wednesday,
- February 6, 2019 at NJCU’s School of Business, 200 Hudson St, Jersey City, NJ 07302. All three programs are free and open to the public.
Boston-based documentary filmmaker Clennon L. King, will be on hand to introduce 65-minute documentary, followed by discussion and audience Q&A.
“I’m delighted to be presenting in the very city where the story dominated headlines, and really unfolded,” said King, whose father was a lawyer for Fair and later represented Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (no relation).
The documentary centers on Fair who attended elementary, middle and high school in Bayonne. In May 1960, the 24-year-old Navy vet joined a Newark friend on a road trip to his hometown of Blakely, Georgia. But their arrival could not have been more ill-timed.
It coincided with the discovery of the body of an 8-year-old girl, prompting local authorities to finger Fair as a “Northern negro outsider”, before making him the fall guy. Less than three days later, a local judge sentenced Fair to Georgia’s electric chair, prompting Fair’s mother, Alice Fair, to mount an unforgettable fight for his life.
Blakely, Georgia, where Fair’s troubles began, is ironically the ancestral home of the Drinkard family, whose heirs include music icons Cissy and Whitney Houston, and cousin Dionne Warwick. In the early 1940s, the Drinkards pulled up stakes in Southwest Georgia, joining the second wave of the Great Migration and migrating to Newark, New Jersey, where they resettled.
The film features multiple current and former New York and New Jersey area residents, including, the late U.S. Representative Cornelius E. Gallagher, Friendship Baptist Church, Bayonne pastor Rev. H. Gene Sykes, a distant relative of Fair and Fair’s two sisters, Audrey Fair Porte and Diane Fair Odom, who now reside in Florida. King also secured interviews with Fair’s only child, Stacey Fair of Bayonne, as well as childhood friends Sam Elder and Margaret Hamiel.
“When I began shooting this film, I had no idea that Blakely and Early County, Georgia were home to the second largest lynching numbers in the state, behind only Atlanta,” said the filmmaker, who hails from Albany, Georgia, sixty miles away.
In addition, the documentary features Clinton White House confidante Vernon Jordan, Esq. of Manhattan, who was a law clerk on the Fair case, and Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, a former Seton Hall School of Medicine professor, who President George H. W. Bush later appointed him a cabinet secretary cabinet, the fourth black to ever do so in U.S. history. Sullivan also hails from Blakely.
“Fair Game” marks King’s second documentary. His first, the award-winning “Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America”, won the Henry Hampton Award of Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival.
For arranging media interviews or prescreening the film for publicity purposes, please contact filmmaker Clennon L. King directly at 207.450.3585. Thank you.