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“Chairman Jones” Film Screening and Community Dialogue Held in Cleveland County

Wednesday, October 17, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Gardner-Webb University (GWU) hosted Wildacres Leadership Initiative’s (WLI) presentation of the NC documentary film “Chairman Jones: An Improbable Leader” on Monday, October 15.  This is the second time this year WLI has taken this film from the 2017-19 Friday Fellowship curriculum to a higher education setting in North Carolina. 

Students, staff, and local community members all attended a pre-event reception, film screening, and post-screening panel discussion with audience participation.  As was the case at the first screening, many folks lingered and talked well after the formal program ended showing the continued need for these spaces of community and conversation to be created.  Click here for more event photos.


Friday Fellow and Cleveland County resident Karla Haynes joined filmmaker Anna Jones, new GWU Dean of Education Prince Bull, and film critic Noel T. Manning II on a panel moderated by historian Tom Hanchett from Charlotte.  Tom’s wife Carol Sawyer – a current Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education member – also made the trip to see the film about this piece of NC educational history.  The chair of the Cleveland County Board of Education also joined the audience.  Students in Gardner-Webb’s film classes were active participants in the Q&A.  Varied folks from the GWU community including the Athletic Director, the Provost, and both of their spouses also came to the Monday evening event.

Filmmaker Anna Jones was interviewed by WNCW’s Paul Foster prior to the screening.  This 9-minute interview does an amazing job of capturing why the film is such a great match for the Friday Fellowship.  Please listen to it all, but particularly note the section around the 6:00 mark.

WFAE also interviewed Anna Jones about the film and her father's leadership during this time and place in NC.  That 5-minute interview and transcript can be found here.

This film is a part of the 2017-19 Friday Fellowship seminar on Prophetic Leadership.  For this seminar’s recommended texts, click here.  Materials for previous seminars can be found here.


This event was a part of WLI’s ongoing effort to take the leadership development content and community building efforts of the Friday Fellowship directly to more people in North Carolina.  Check out these links and follow our social media channels that contain much more information which is easy to consume – and share.

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