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Free Screening and Panel Discussion of "Chairman Jones: An Improbable Leader"
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Free Screening and Panel Discussion of

Join us for a free screening and post-show dialogue moderated by WBTV Reporter Steve Crump. This historical documentary film details the visionary leadership of James Henry Jones who became a trailblazer during the 1969 desegregation crisis in Northampton County. His journey from sharecropper to North Carolina's first black school board chairman inspires audiences and offers lessons for today, if we are willing to listen. (Keep scrolling down for a full description and more information.)

When: Thursday, March 22, 2018
Where: Johnson C. Smith University
New Science Center
100 Beatties Ford Road
Charlotte, North Carolina  28216
United States
Contact: Minda Brooks

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Wildacres Leadership Initiative is pleased to offer a

William C. Friday Dialogue on Education and Leadership:
NC's Past, Present, and Future

All are invited to a free screening of the award-winning documentary Chairman Jones—An Improbable Leader, which tells the story of James Henry Jones, a self-educated farmer who emerges as a trailblazer during the 1969 school desegregation crisis sparked when Northampton County, North Carolina  refuses to implement the U.S. Supreme  Court’s 1954 decision to fully integrate the public schools.  After freeing himself from Jim Crow sharecropping in the 1950s, Jones launches a personal campaign to free black children from Jim Crow education.  He places his own children on the front lines, brings blacks and whites together for dialogue, and helps integration tip toe into Northampton, transforming the educational landscape for everyone.  His leadership as North Carolina’s First Black School Board Chairman introduces a new era in education and has a marked effect on racial progress in the State.

Born on a former slave plantation in 1916, Jones died in 1984, the year that the Northampton County school system received accreditation for the first time in its history, largely due to his vision and efforts. His story unfolds through his daughter Anna's conversations with those who participated in the integration movement and witnessed his extraordinary courage and leadership.

After the screening

WBTV's Steve Crump will facilitate a dialogue with panelists: director and narrator of the film, Anna Jones, Dorothy Counts-Scoggins, and Dr. Amy Hawn Nelson and take questions and comments from the audience. Together, we will reflect on how this story of citizen leadership, education inequality, and race relations during the Jim Crow and School Desegregation eras can help us see the present more clearly and move us into a new tomorrow.

Let's come together - educators, parents, students, and community members - to enjoy a beautiful film about the difference one man made because he decided to. Engage in dialogue to shed light on the current challenges and envision the education we want for all our children. Decide what action you will take to bring that vision into reality.

Join us for an evening of history, inspiration, dialogue, and action!

“I discovered a movement of a people from segregation to cooperation around education for the children of Northampton County.” --  Anna Jones, Director

William C. Friday Dialogues for the Expansion of Democracy create a space for civil dialogue aimed at abating gridlock, improving human relations, and advancing a just democracy.

Moderator and Panelist Bios

Steve Crump is a journalist, award-winning documentary film producer, and a reporter with WBTV in Charlotte. He has been recognized with many honors, including several regional Emmy Awards, four National Headliner Awards, National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence, NAACP Legal Defense Fund Humanitarian of the Year, and the National Council of Negro Women Man of the Year Charlotte Chapter. His documentaries have been showcased by the Smithsonian and recognized by the Library of Congress and the Museum of Broadcast Communications, as well as several regional and national film festivals. His 2010 film "9/4/57" recounts the story of how Dorothy Counts-Scoggins became the face of school integration in Charlotte and explores the attitudes of a community both then and now. In 2016, Steve was named the "2016 Journalist of the Year" by the National Association of Black Journalists.


Anna Jones is an executive consultant with the Sable Consulting Group, a management consulting firm located in Villanova, Pennsylvania. She is also an award- winning, first-time documentary filmmaker.   Following a corporate management career at IBM Corporation, she immersed herself in art studies at North Carolina Central University and Duke University, including the Center for Documentary Studies.  Anna resides in Durham, NC  where she is a member of The Southern Documentary Fund, Durham Arts Council, Duke Chapel Advisory Board, and Durham Rotary Club.   She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Business from North Carolina Central University with additional study at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY,  the American Institute for Managing Diversity, Atlanta, GA  and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Dorothy Counts-Scoggins (Dot) has dedicated her life working to enrich the lives of others and organizations in which to ultimately create a more just and caring world. In 1957, Dot took the walk into Harding High school as one of 4 African American students attempting to integrate the Charlotte Mecklenburg school system. After a week of harassment and abuse and non-acceptance by her peers, teachers and administration, her parents withdrew her and she furthered her education in Yeadon Pennsylvania and Asheville North Carolina.

Fifty years later, in September of 2007, Dot was honored by being awarded an honorary diploma from Harding High School. On May 25, 2007, the Board approved a request that the Media Center of Harding High School be named “The Dorothy Counts-Scoggins Media Center”, an honor rarely bestowed upon living persons.

In June, 2007, Dot was invited to the Governor’s Mansion along with eight other pioneers from across the state who was involved in school integration. They were awarded the Old North State Award from Governor Easley. The Old North State Award honors outstanding North Carolinians for exemplary service and commitment to the state. A proclamation was issued that the recipients be commended for childhood courage in the face of taunts and threats.

Dot retired July 2012 as Vice President of Quality Improvement and Business Consultation at Child Care Resources Inc. after 24 years of service and now has started her own Early Childhood consulting services to assist in the development and management of quality early childhood programs for children.  She has traveled to tell her story geared to our younger generation to ensure that the history is heard and not forgotten. Dot continues to serve as a volunteer mentor in many of the low performing schools in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System to ensure that each child has an opportunity for success. Dot is a graduate of Johnson C Smith University and received certification in Early Childhood Leadership at UNC-Chapel Hill.


Amy Hawn Nelson is a member of the Research Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy, an initiative out of UPenn that focuses on the development, use, and innovation of integrated data systems (IDS) for policy analysis and program reform. Prior to joining AISP in 2017, Dr. Hawn Nelson was the Director of Social Research for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Director of the Institute for Social Capital. Prior to entering the world of IDS’ in 2012, Hawn Nelson served as a teacher and school leader for 11 years. She is a community engaged researcher generally focusing on intersectional topics related to education policy, and was selected as a Charlottean of the Year in 2015 largely due to her research and community engagement around issues of educational equity. She is a co-editor of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: School Desegregation and Resegregation in Charlotte (Feb. 2015, Harvard Education Press). Amy and her husband Allen are proud graduates of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and continue to live in Charlotte with two feisty daughters, Fincher and Emory (CMS Class of 2032 and 2035).

Geraldine Ledezma  is a senior at South Mecklenburg High, which she is attending because it offers the higher level Spanish courses she required after attending a language immersion school. She is a first generation DACA recipient from Mexico. She works at the nonprofit, Urban Promise Charlotte as a "StreetLeader" where she mentors and teaches K-5 students after school and during the summer. She is actively involved in her community  and has a strong passion for educational equity, volunteering with organizations such as SFER ( Students For Education Reform) and Libre, a grassroots organization dedicated to help tuition equity in North Carolina. She is looking forward to attending college in the fall.

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Wildacres Leadership Initiative is connected with Wildacres Retreat, Little Switzerland, NC.