Anthony Crawford was one of the wealthiest men in Abbeville, South Carolina, with over 400 acres of land; his farm was prosperous and self-sufficient. Crawford employed the black community. Anthony Crawford was murdered on October 21, 1916 by a mob of over 200 white men, then they lynched him. HOBO is filming a documentary Crawford: the man the south forgot follows the 14-year journey of his great-granddaughter Doria Dee Johnson as she pleads for the city to recognize the lynching and create a memorial in her grandfather’s name. BGN spoke with HOBO Films Head of Development, Editor/Producer Tiffany Jackman, about her process of uncovering this powerful story.
How did you find this story?
I’ve been working with HOBO movies for about a year on this show called The system, which deals with how minority teenagers are targeted for the same things as their white counterparts, but minority children are placed in the prison system. Howard Bowler, who owns the HOBO movies, had all of this footage on a hard drive from 2002. He really wanted the movie made, so he asked me to look at the footage and see if we could finish this story.
It was hours and hours of images. I researched the story further, and it was like looking at gold. It’s such a rich story. This family deserves to have that story there. That’s what attracted me. I wanted to finish it for Doria and the family.
Living with the hours of footage of this brutal lynching must have been traumatic. How long have you worked on this project?
About a year or two. The main thing was that I find the story. Within hours and hours of footage, there were so many storylines I could have shot down. Like, the need for reparations, even if it’s not for America in general, just for this one family. There were so many different angles. But the storyline that I was able to create a full arc of was the need for the city to recognize this man, what he contributed to the city, and how great he was.
How were you able to feed yourself in the face of this brutal content?
wow. Well, as for feeding myself… Because it was heavy, some days I just had to take a break. I would work on something fun, like shooting a music video. Sometimes you have to walk away because it’s… a lot, you know. To say it’s still…I mean to compare that to everything that’s still going on in the world right now in America…it’s a lot. Sometimes I just needed to take a walk.