The Movement: Ed Farm’s civil rights history app, BCRI moves to the next phase

Movement, the civil rights history iPhone app from Ed Farm and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institutehas entered its next phase.

Now in a soft launch, the app is now available for download from Apple App Store.

The mobile application is a collaboration of the BCRI, Ed Farmand digital creative brand DRMN STAY. The three organizations work with young contributors and storytellers around the city to help them research the civil rights movement in Birmingham through interviews with historians, foot soldiers and archival footage from the BCRI.

Using story-centric design, contributors, also known as griots, produce immersive stories about the app using video, photography, voiceover, and augmented reality.

The app’s content so far includes a roster of young storytellers, voting rights resources, and an early version of a “magic walk” or immersive location-based tour. Once complete, the Magical Walks will combine photos, videos and narration from young storytellers and BCRI historian Barry McNealy to take users on a self-guided augmented reality tour of stops on Birmingham’s Civil Rights Trail, including AG Gaston Motel, Kelly Ingram Park, BCRI and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

The app also contains an immersive short film or story titled “God’s Disinherited Children”. Directed and narrated by rapper, artist and writer David Welch II – also known as David the Gr8 – the story details the civil rights movement’s ‘Project C Confrontation’ in Birmingham and features an interview with Janice Wesley Kelsey, one of the children who participated in the 1963 Children’s Crusade.

The movie, which is also available on Youtubewas introduced to the public during a preview of the app at the first Fred Shuttlesworth Day in March.

An upcoming immersive story written and directed by fellow griot Lorraine Shackleford will focus on LGBTQ rights and activists in the civil rights movement. Shackleford has spent the past few months interviewing foot soldiers and elders to understand the intersection of LGBTQ identity and social justice.

“A lot of my questions have centered around what it means to be black and gay at the same time, and what it means to be black and gay in an organizing space (as well as) the internalized homophobia within the movement of civil rights or within building the modern movement,” Shackleford said. AL.com in March.

One of her main goals, she said, was to examine homophobia and bigotry in liberation spaces.

“Liberation is a kind of absolute. You cannot partially liberate a people. And so, I think it’s mostly about focusing on intersectionality,” Shackleford said.

Shackleford gave a glimpse into his immersive story during the BCRI screening of “Brother Outsider,” the PBS documentary about civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who was openly gay.

The team behind The Movement app demonstrated and created an immersive video at the inaugural Fred Shuttlesworth Day events at BCRI (left to right) Sarah Jones, Lorraine Shackleford, David Welch II, Philippe Celestin, Erika Abrams and Brittany Hollis (Shauna Stuart | AL.com)

The Movement also plans to produce stories about the life and death of Bonita Carter and the political rise of Richard Arrington, Jr, Birmingham’s first black mayor.

Since 2021, the team behind The Movement has been working on creating the app’s first set of immersive stories. The team also solicits user feedback and ensures that foot soldiers and historians review the app’s content for accuracy and authenticity. The Movement relies on a group of advisors called Source Content and Relationship Guides, including community leaders T. Marie King and Elijah Davis, and BCRI educators and historians Barry McNealy and Charles Woods.

“We’re pretty much trying to bring authenticity to these stories,” Welch said. AL.com in October.

Some films about the civil rights movement, Welch said, focus more on ahistorical drama than fact. The app’s mission is to include the voices and opinions of people who lived through Alabama’s social justice movements of the 1950s and 1960s, and to tell those stories through the next generation of storytellers who will inherit of State.

“We’re doing the work so people like me can say, ‘That’s right. That’s right,” Welch said. “And if I was related to someone (who was in) the movement, I’m glad there’s someone telling this story from an authentic place. I’d be happy for someone to use the name of my family and my family’s event in an honorable and genuine and non-exploitative way.

Marshall Pollard, chief executive of STAY DRMN, says people are deeply connected to the stories that make Birmingham the Magic City, from the rise of the steel industry to movements for social justice.

“There is an idea around a campaign to collect stories of magic, but with the opportunity that Ed Farm, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Apple have created, it is more than just a campaign. is a movement. It’s a chance to say “what if there was a technology that allowed us to connect and capture these stories?” Pollard said. AL.com in an interview last fall. “So what started as a documentary process has now turned into an application that engages many people across the city, primarily our young people.”

Public demonstrations of the Movement began last year, including a demonstration of the app at the Alabama collective series of lectures during the week of the Magic City Classic. Last month, the team continued presenting at Ed Farm’s inaugural Education Summit.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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