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The Murphey School (2008) 17 min  Raleigh, NC

Director: Nick Karner

With: Ralph Campbell, Smedes York, Charles Meeker, Jerome Davis

IMDB SYNOPSIS:  A short documentary exploring the history of Raleigh's historic Murphey school and the construction of Burning Coal Theatre's new performance space.

    My first experience with Burning Coal Theatre was being cast, at the age of 16, in their production of Macbeth. Although the experience was great, the one odd thing was that we performed it in a gymnasium. This was because Burning Coal didn’t have a permanent space.  All that changed when they decided to revamp the Murphey School, an abandoned school house that was the first to integrate African American students into the curriculum in Raleigh.

   Jerome Davis, the artistic director of Burning Coal, asked me to document the building process. I spoke with the builders and designers as well as the mayor of Raleigh.  I was able to speak to the brother of the first African American student at the school and the son of the man who spear-headed the campaign to integrate the school in the first place. The film ends with the triumphant opening of the theatre and a performance of Inherit the Wind.

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