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A black farmer's fight to bring equal education to rural Northampton County, NC in the 1950s & 1960s transforms him and his community in unimaginable ways.
Anna Jones
Durham, North Carolina
United States
5 Team Members
This project is fiscally sponsored by the Southern Documentary Fund.

Your gifts to Chairman Jones--An Improbable Leader are tax deductible, less the perks you receive.

We met and exceeded our modest goal! However, we are continuing to raise funds in order to COMPLETE the project. To donate visit:


Who Am I?

My name is Anna Jones. I grew up in the 1950s and 60s on a farm in rural Northampton County, North Carolina, one of eight children.  My father was a farmer and my mother a midwife.  Following a 30-year corporate management career, I now live in Durham, NC.  In recent years I have learned about my father, James Henry Jones, from people in Northampton County and throughout North Carolina who witnessed his extraordinary leadership. Their stories inspired me to make this documentary. 

What is this film about?

Chairman Jones: An Improbable Leader is the true story of the desegregation of public schools in rural Northampton County, NC during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights Eras. It centers on the pivotal role my father, James Henry Jones, played in bringing it about.

When many cities across America were burning, torn apart by chaos and hatred, James Jones was building cross-racial coalitions to address complex issues of equality and fairness. It was because of his leadership, that the Citizens of Northampton County talked to each other.

His rise to become North Carolina's first black school board chairman was pivotal not only in transforming the educational landscape, but also initiating a new era in relations between the races and progress in our State.

The Impact

 My purpose is to record living history and to tell this story through the voices of the people who lived it.

Capturing these stories will preserve this powerful history and culture for future generations of students, historians, researchers, and leaders of all cultures interested in education, race relations, politics, leadership, and rural cultures in the American South.

As we watch the crisis in education deepen in our Nation, while progress rolls back, the lessons of the Chairman Jones story will resonate with people of conscience who value quality education for children and civility in society.

What Has Been Done?

Together with experienced film makers who have told true stories before, I am calling on every skill l developed in college and in my corporate management career to research this little-known history and aim to bring it to the public in 2014.

Other North Carolinians have recognized the importance of this history and have supported it. Among them are:

Dr. William Friday, President Emeritus, UNC System (d.2012) invited me to discuss this project for his audience on UNCTV's North Carolina People program.  Later I interviewed him for the film.


·  Dr. Tim Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name, collaborated with historical  perspective and story-telling assistance.

 Working on a shoestring, over the past four years we have:

·  Researched decades of archival records

·  Filmed dozens of interviews with seniors in Northampton and NC who lived this turbulent history.

·  Produced a 10-minute promotional trailer. https://vimeo.com/75936930  

·  Partnered with individuals, churches, civic organizations, and small foundations in   Northampton County, throughout North Carolina, and beyond to finance this important project.

What We Need Now

At this stage of the project, our goal in this short campaign is to raise a minimum of $7500.

YOU can help push us closer to the finish line with your tax deductible gifts.  

We have already completed 85% of the interviews and additional footage.

The $7500 goal will be allocated this way:

·  $2500  -  to film remaining interviews and background shots in Northampton County

·  $5000  -  to jump start editing the final film

Other Ways You Can Help

Contributions in any amount will help.

Even if you can't contribute financially, you can still be a part of bringing this fascinating history to the screen.

·  Help us get the word out and make some noise about the film and campaign

·  Tell your friends and social media network

·  Forward this notice to your email contacts

·  Offer your special skills and talents to the project (administrative, social media, technology, creativity.)


Thank you so much for your interest in Chairman Jones: An Improbable Leader.

Working together, we can bring this important piece of American History to the public. I can only imagine how astonished and proud (though he might not admit it) my father would be.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 55 people in 1 month
121% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$7,500 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on January 15, 2014
In partnership with
Select a Perk
  • $25USD

    You receive name credit in the film. (fully tax deductible)

    5 claimed
  • $50USD

    You receive name credit in the film, plus sneak online preview of final film before release. (fully tax deductible)

    5 claimed
  • $100USD

    You receive name credit in the film + sneak online preview of film before final release + additional clips not included in the final film. (fully tax deductible)

    11 claimed
  • $150USD

    You receive TWO TICKETS to a local NC film screening and reception + all of the above. (amount over $25 is tax deductible)

    3 claimed
  • $175USD

    LIMITED EDITION. You receive a 10-class yoga package, women only, Common Ground Theater, Durham NC + all of the above (the amount over $75 is tax deductible)

    0 out of 5 claimed
  • $250USD
    Cum Laude

    You receive TWO TICKETS to a local NC film screening + a DVD of the film+ all of the above, except yoga classes. (the amount over $25 is tax deductible.)

    2 claimed

    Magna Cum Laude

    LIMITED EDITION. (only 1 available). You receive one live decorated Norfolk Pine holiday tree- Flowers at Woodcroft, Durham, NC- (free delivery in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) + ALL OF THE ABOVE, except yoga classes. (the amount over $75 is tax deductible)

    1 out of 1 claimed
  • $500USD
    Summa Cum Laude

    You receive SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT on screen + ALL OF THE ABOVE, except yoga classes and holiday tree. (the amount over $25 is tax deductible)

    1 claimed
  • $1,000USD

    You receive a 4-night/5-day hotel stay for two at NEGRIL TREEHOUSE RESORT in Negril, Jamaica. Hotel accommodations only + ALL OF THE ABOVE, except yoga classes and holiday tree. (the amount over $600 is tax deductible)

    2 out of 5 claimed
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