Documentary Film of Local High School's Integration Available

‘With All Deliberate Speed: One High School’s Story’ in Area Libraries and on TV

ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (Nov. 5, 2009) — Copies of the documentary film “With All Deliberate Speed: One High School’s Story,” which recounts the diverse viewpoints of students, teachers, and administrators who experienced the desegregation of Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland between 1958 and 1972, have been distributed to St. Mary’s County middle and high schools, and is available at the three county libraries, the College of Southern Maryland and St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) libraries, and the St. Mary’s County Historical Society.

The film, which premiered in June at the high school, was written, directed, and produced by Merideth Taylor, SMCM professor and chair of the theater, film, and media studies department, and was edited by David Taylor and Bryan Tosh of Phocus Video. Based on more than 30 interviews drawn from an oral history project Taylor started in 2003, the film provides viewers with a new perspective on a not-so-distant local history.

More than 200 people came to the premiere, which was followed by a panel discussion by five former Great Mills students, including Joan Groves Briscoe (who with her brother were the first black students to enroll), Beverly Watts Dyson, Alonzo Gaskin, Stewart Newkirk, and Jane Sypher, all of whom are featured in the documentary.

The film, which was duplicated and distributed by consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, also is playing on local cable television stations, including the St. Mary’s County schools station, and is on SMCM’s YouTube site. County Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano told Taylor he plans to see the documentary integrated into the social studies curriculum so schoolchildren can learn from the past.

The film was supported by a grant from the PNC Foundation Legacy Project with support from the Maryland Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the documentary do not necessarily represent those of the PNC Foundation, the MHC, or the NEH.

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