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The story of the African-American basketball team that won Georgia's first integrated State High School basketball championship.

SYNOPSIS

“A Legacy Forgotten: Blue & Gold Pride” is the story of the African-American High School basketball team that broke through the wall of segregation to win the first integrated state basketball championship in Georgia.  Featuring Larry “Gator” Rivers, the Legendary Harlem Globetrotter, this film reunites “Gator” with the other living members of this historic championship team.  These distinguished men, along with other alumni, faculty members, and opposing team members, take us back to the 1966-67 basketball season, when Georgia first integrated high school athletics.   Packed with encouragement, hope, and hilarious stories, this film tells how these young men drew strength from the academic and athletic legacy of excellence from their school, A. E. Beach High.  As a result, they overcame racism, hatred, and Georgia’s expectation of failure to become a beacon of hope.

HISTORY

In 1867, Alfred Ely Beach High School was established under the name of Beach Institute in the beautiful city of Savannah, GA. It was founded by the American Missionary Association for the education of freed blacks. One hundred years later, in 1967, Beach won the historic, first integrated State Basketball Championship in Georgia. This State Championship was more than a black school winning in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), a previously all white athletic association. It was a beacon of hope for equality.

The 1967 State Championship Team starred the likes of Larry “Gator” Rivers (the legendary Harlem Globetrotter), Dr. David Hall (the current President of the University of the Virgin Islands), Andrew Knowles, Roger Moore, Rev. Wilson Scott, and Eugene Brown. However, Beach’s powerful heritage did not start with this team. It began with Beach’s many State championship teams prior to 1967 that this team stood on the shoulders of so proudly. The previous State Championship teams played under the Georgia Interscholastic Association (GIA), Georgia’s all black high school athletic association. Beach’s GIA basketball teams not only won multiple State championships, they placed in the top five in the Nation several times.

Beach’s heritage also extends into the academic realm. Since 1867, Beach has been a beacon of light for a community that has been subjected to the changing social dynamics of the post-slavery era in the United States. Nevertheless, Beach has produced generations and generations of academically and athletically astute individuals that have impacted the City of Savannah, the State of Georgia, and the Nation. Beach’s heritage includes, Mayors, State Senators, the founder of the Chicago Defender (a trail blazing black newspaper), a Tuskegee Airman, and many more.

GOAL OF THIS FILM

The goal of the film is to encourage and motivate people to set goals and achieve their dreams in life in spite of the adversities they face.  Even though the opportunities that are available for this generation to succeed are great, the social-economic statistics indicate that a large portion of this generation is destined to fail. 

However, in 1967, this young group of African-American men rose to meet all the challenges of their day, such as racism, the effects of desegregation, and a lack of opportunities.  Not only did they excel in sports, they also excelled academically.  Every member of the 1967 Championship team graduated from high school and attended college.  They gleaned from the legacy that was established before them and found strength in their heritage of excellence.  Failure was not an option.  The only option was to be the best they could be.

The progress of the film can be followed on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ALegacyForgottenBlueGoldPride

WHAT WILL THE FUNDS BE USED FOR

Our Kickstarter goal of $75,000 is less than a third of our actual budget.  The funds raised through Kickstarter will help us complete additional interviews and assist with post-production, music licenses, and licenses for archival photos.  As we complete interviews, we learn of other individuals who we need to include.  All of these additional individuals have contributed greatly to the legacy of A. E. Beach High School.  Some of the individuals interviewed so far are pictured below.      

Larry "Gator" Rivers - Legendary Harlem Globetrotter
Larry "Gator" Rivers - Legendary Harlem Globetrotter

1967 GA H.S. State Basketball Championship (GHSA) Team Member, 1969 Beach High School Graduate, College Basketball All-American - Missouri Western State University, Legendary Harlem Globetrotter, Founder of Gatorball Academy, Inc., Founder of Harlem the Legends Basketball Team, Executive Producer - A Legacy Forgotten: Blue & Gold Pride

Coach Ronald Booker, Athletic Director, A. E. Beach High
Coach Ronald Booker, Athletic Director, A. E. Beach High

1963 & 1964 GA H.S. State Basketball Championship (GIA) Team, 1964 Beach High School Graduate, Coach of Beach High Girls 2000 GA State Basketball Championship, Coached Beach High Girls team  to many basketball Regional Championships, Current coach of Varsity Girls Basketball Team,  Current Athletic Director at Beach High School

Walter "49" Simmons
Walter "49" Simmons

1945 GA H.S. State Basketball Championship (GIA) Team Member, Member of Beach High’s famous “Dream Team” Basketball Team, 1945 Beach High School Graduate, Retired Principal/Educator

Edward Campbell
Edward Campbell

1940 & 1941 2nd place in the National Black Basketball Championship, 1941 GA H.S. State Basketball Championship (GIA) Team Member, Member of Beach High’s famous “Raggedy Eight” Basketball Team, 1941 Beach High Graduate, Retired Railroad Employee

MY CONNECTION TO THIS STORY

In today’s socio-economic conditions, hope seems to be a word that is fleeting from the vocabulary of many people.  However, I found this story to be full of hope and encouragement.  It is a story that is a part of my heritage, and story in which I have become a part of its living legacy.  A Legacy Forgotten: Blue & Gold Pride is a story where those involved found strength in the struggles, wisdom, experience, and successes of those that came before them.  I am proud to say that I am an Alumnus of A. E. Beach High School and a member of the A. E. Beach High Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Please help us tell the story of an iconic institution, loyal community of people that have been producing great contributors to societies around the world for over 145 years.

Miller Bargeron, Jr., Director & Producer
Miller Bargeron, Jr., Director & Producer

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- (45 days)