On New Year’s Day, January 1, 2003, a Wednesday, while I was staying with my mother in Arlington over the holidays (I was still living in the Churchill in Minneapolis) I drove my rented car to West Warwick, RI (very near Providence) to visit filmmaker Gode Davis, who is since deceased. It was a mild day, with rain and fog but no snow on the way up (but wind-driven flurries all the next day as I came back).
We met first for dinner in a Friday’s restaurant, and he said immediately, he could tell from my artificial body language that I, like him, have at least mild Asperger’s syndrome. We had spoken on the phone numerous times. He had said he had been an Army officer, had been married and was also bisexual and was very concerned about “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
Then we retreated to his modest Cape Cod home on St. George St., and watched all the footage of his documentary “American Lynching”. I think about 40 minutes of interviews and various narratives had been assembled. I actually spent the night before driving back.
In June 2005, he came to Washington to tape some interviews at the Capitol about a Senate resolution to apologize for the government’s not doing more about the past wrongs associated with lynchings since the Civil War. Senator George Allen (VA), Mary Landrieu (LA) and victim James Cameron were interviewed. Gode took a lot of footage, and I took my own footage of some of the same material.
My own footage:
To play these in Windows, click once, and then click when the box appears on your screen, These were taken with an older Sony Camcorder.
Gode had called to ask if he could stay at my home, but at the time my mother was in charge (as I was looking after her) and I could not return the favor. That is an idea that I ought to be able to address now.
In fact, there are several sites in Alexandria, VA where lynchings occurred in the late 19th Century, such as this
The estate has a website “americanlyncing.com” which right now Google warns as possibly being hacked. It comes up cleanly in Firefox with Webroot Secure Anywhere in a Windows 8 environment, so I am having Webroot check on the reason for Google’s warning (link) Note: Webroot’s initial reply is that it did not find anything wrong with the site.
Gode’s one YouTube video, from 2006, about ten minutes, also appears on my Blogger Movie Reviews blog, Dec. 24, 2013, but I’ll re-present it here for convenience.
The logical next step is to contact the estate and see what is being done with the materials and if some sort of effort can be assembled to fund and finish the rest of the project.
In February 2003 there was a fire at the Station Disco in West Warwick, RI. David did become involved in a city’s investigation of the disaster.
There’s another controversial film around, “South Dakota” (no relation to “Nebraska”) by Bruce Isaacson, a long drama about two young women dealing with abortion. The production company is Lionheart, and it is very difficult to find out any information in when it will show up. I would wonder if the controversy of the film’s subject matter is provoking concerns. I have reviewed both “Lake of Fire” and “After Tiller” on my Movies blog (look for the “Right to Life” label).
Update: March 9, 2015
A disturbing incident with a University of Oklahoma fraternity, now closed down with students likely to be expelled, shows the problem is still with us, CNN story here. The expulsion letter published by ABC on Facebook is quite graphic, here.
Update: March 15, 2015
I have had some occasional discussions with the estate about my past contact with Gode. I can’t report details now, but I believe that there will be more news in the reasonably near future.
Update: April 2, 2015
There are reports of a noose incident on the Duke University campus in North Carolina, story on Jezebel here.
Update: August 15, 2015
I recently visited the executor of Gode’s estate in Rhode Island. More details will be available in the reasonably near future, I hope. It is apparent that the focus of Gode’s work was “extra legal violence” that has neighborhood or peer social approval, and isn’t limited just to race.