This documentary chronicles the life of civil rights pioneer Silas H. Hunt from his childhood years, his service in the armed forces, and the challenges he faced in 1948 when he was the first African American admitted to the University of Arkansas Law School. In fact, he was the first African American admitted to the university since Reconstruction and the first to be admitted for graduate or professional studies at any all-white southern university.
Hunt was a decorated World War II veteran from Texarkana, Arkansas, when he enrolled in the law school. He completed one semester of classes before becoming ill and withdrawing from school. He died the following year from tuberculosis, aggravated by injuries he had received during the Battle of the Bulge. His admission to the university began a process of integration that would follow at universities throughout the South.
Producer-director Erwin and his crew traveled seventeen thousand miles in twelve states, shot fifty-six hours of videotape, and found 2,500 documents and images. Narrated by Emmy-nominated actor Steve Harris (The Practice), the documentary has won five awards: an Aegis Winner’s Award, an Aurora Gold Award, a Telly Bronze Award, and a Platinum Ava Award. In 2008 it was nominated for an Emmy by the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.