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4.12.08

One Night in ’64

In 1964, long before The Wire and Homicide, WBAL-TV in Baltimore aired a program titled Crime Wave Discussion, which included a discussion with city leaders, moderated by station General Manager Brent Gunts. At the conclusion the station then asked its viewers to submit their opinions and solutions to reduce crime in the city.

The next day A 75-year-old African-American retired truck driver named James Emory Bond walked three miles from his house to the station's Television Hill studios to share his opinion. Luckily for us the reporter in Brent Gunts recognized he had something special in Mr. Bond and had his cameraman set up to record the interview. For an unprecedented one hour of air time, without commercial interruption, the unedited opinions of an African-American were broadcast all over Baltimore and then re-broadcast nationally, eventually winning an Emmy.

Throughout the interview Mr. Bond spoke candidly, with grace and humor, about his life, as a son of slaves growing up in segregated Baltimore County, the atrocities, his long, loving marriage to Isabella, and how proud he was of his 10 children, who attended college and had successful careers.

We can all re-visit this historical gem at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, with their latest exhibit One Night in ’64: African American Voices and Television in the Civil Rights Era.

If I can say just a few words to a smart man, and they'll take to working on it, and I'll fade off into the dark. And now, let me fade off into the dark without anything...only that I am Jim Bond.
I hope at some point that this gets put online so more could see.

2 comments:

sam said...

Thanks Mark- great post
I loved the video at the museum and was inspired by it.However I found the museum very distracting with lots of confusing voices and noises coming from other exhibits. My overall experience at the museum was lowered because of the chaotic environment.
Any thoughts on this?

Mark said...

I didn't want to muck up my post with that Sam, but I feel the same. Too much information competing for your attention at once, similar to the Native American Museum in DC.
There needs to be breathing room to let it settle, less-is-more.
I also feel the Bond video display missed an opportunity to show an African-American living room circa 1964, with chairs to sit in, a couch, and even watch the video on a
period black and white tv.
It's not the amount of content that's important, it's the quality and the presentation.