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$3,330 pledged of $25,000 goal
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By Cash Michaels
$3,330 pledged of $25,000 goal
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About this project

     AL: My Brother is a CashWorks HD Productions documentary about the life of civil rights activist and attorney Alan McSurely, who is white, and his over 50-year battle against white racism.

     At age 81 today, Al serves as a close advisor to Rev. Dr. Willam Barber, outgoing president of the North Carolina NAACP, and over the past 12 years, helped Rev. Barber create a powerful multi-cultural fusion movement to fight right-wing politicians in the North Carolina General Assembly. But prior to that, Al had a successful legal career fighting for black housekeepers at UNC - Chapel Hill, black state employees who faced having nooses hung in their workplaces, and one of the first black female police officers in the state system.

       Al's legal career was fueled by his earlier career as white civil rights activist who believed in black power, worked with fellow activists Stokely Carmichael and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and during the 1970s, was held in contempt of Congress after law enforcement raided the home of he and his first wife, threw them in jail under the charge of sedition against the state of Kentucky, and confiscated all of their personal belongings to make examples of them before the world.

      It took almost 17 years, but Al and his wife successfully sued for $1.6 million. He endured FBI harassment, the breakup of that first marriage, and the bombing of his home while his wife and young child were sleeping.

       Al McSurely is one of the living legends of the civil rights movement, and is as firmly committed to the eradication of white racism now as he was back in the 1960s. As Al continues to contribute to the moral movement of today at the side of Rev. Barber, his extraordinary life story deserves to be told, and shared, especially during this age of Trump. 

I hope you agree, and contribute to the making of this documentary.

of sedition against 

Risks and challenges

I have produced and directed two award-winning feature-length documentaries before - 2010's "Obama in NC: The Path to History," and 2014's "Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten." So based on those two experiences, along with some short mini-docs for nonprofit groups, I know that I have the skills for doing a great work about Al.

I've already done eight weeks of on-camera interviews with Al at his home about his life, and I've also interviewed his first wife Margaret about their days together as young white activists advocating for black power in the 1960s. I've also already done an abundance of research through newspaper archives about their activities (primarily the NY Times).

My challenges are traveling to find archival video, doing on-camera interview with Al's contemporaries from the 1960s and 70s before they pass on, and locating as much materials from that era as possible that can be seen for the first time since the late 1960s-70s.

My target to complete the production (I'll be editing myself, and hope to have original music composed) is December 2018. There is an extensive college and progressive community here in North Carolina, where Al is known and loved best for his work, who I know would be anxious to see this film. This project is under the auspices of my company, CashWorks HD Productions.

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    "Obama in NC: The Path to History" DVD

    2010 documentary about Barack Obama winning the 2008 North Carolina primary, that state's racial history, and a black family's journey to witness his inauguration.

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    "Pardons... The Wilmington Ten" DVD

    2014 award-winning documentary about the false prosecution of ten civil rights activists in 1972, and the 40-year struggle to prove their innocence, leading to their historic pardons on Dec. 31, 2012.

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    "AL: My Brother" DVD

    2018 documentary about civil rights activist/attorney Al McSurely, and his 50-yr. battle against white racism.

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