Resurrecting Love: The Cemetery That Can Heal a Nation

Race, Reconciliation, and the fight for Human Rights
Resurrecting Love Movie
San Francisco, California
United States
1 Team Member

Our Story

Resurrecting Love: The Cemetery That Can Heal a Nation documents the powerful racial conflict over the right to visit cemetery in Marshall, Texas.  This film in progress follows two women - one black, one white - as they rally the community to fight a large timber corporation, which is denying them access to the cemetery, and in the process, change the face of Texas history. Resurrecting Love shows us how a diverse group of people can come together to heal the deep racial divisions that still threaten to tear our country apart.

The film grew out of China Galland's book, Love Cemetery, Unburying the Secret History of Slaves (HarperOne).  The book ignited a controversy about people being able to get into cemeteries throughout Texas.  This set off an investigation by the State Attorney General's Office.  As a consequence, new legislation was passed making it a criminal offense to deny people reasonable access to cemeteries in Texas.  Nonetheless, this widespread problem continues in Texas and across the U.S. today.

Who We Are

China Galland (Producer) is an award-winning author, speaker, university lecturer, and former wilderness guide. She is the recipient of the 2009-2010 "Courage of Conscience Award" from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, MA, and participated in the Hedgebrook Writers Invitational Residency on Whidbey Island, WA.  Galland is also a Professor in Residence at the Center for the Arts, Religion, and Education (CARE) at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is a member of the national Alliance for Truth and Racial Reconciliation.  China's book on Love, her sixth non-fiction book to be published, was the genesis of this documentary. 


Ben Galland (Director) is an award-winning director who owns and operates Oceanic Productions in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work includes feature length documentaries, theatrical films, music videos, and commercials for clients such as PBS, Fox, Warner Brothers, Current TV and others. His focus is on social and environmental justice with an emphasis on youth culture and music.


Nate Parker (Executive Producer) is an American actor best known for his leading roles in The Secret Life of Bees and The Great Debaters.  Next he stars in George Lucas' upcoming Red Tails, the story of the WW II Tuskegee Airmen.  Parker's commitment to quality education and socialization for all children is far reaching.  He includes the subjects of diversity, education and debate when he speaks at schools across the country.  As well, he mentors 24 children from schools in central Los Angeles.  Nate also sponsors a Peace for Kids scholarship fund.  He received an honorary Doctorate from the historically black Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, the school that The Great Debaters was based on. Nate, along with Wiley's President Dr. Haywood Strickland, co-founded a new scholarship program for African-American young men.

Alexis Yancey (Associate Producer) is an award-winning television producer who is owner and Executive Producer of Alexis Yancey Productions.  Clients include CBS News, CNN, Donahue, Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Emmitt Zone Show with Emmitt Smith, and Hispanics Today.  She was a producer for CBS Evening News weekend editions in New York and CBS News, Dallas.  She has won the National Association of Black Journalists Best Public Affairs/Newsmagazines Award and a Lone Star Emmy, among other accolades.  She's also the National Association of Black Journalists Vice-President for Broadcast, as well as NABJ's Region VII Director.  Alexis was President of the Boston Association of Black Journalists and President of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Association of Black Communicators.

Brian Dowley (Director of Photography) is a Director of Photography who has shot for television, feature films, commercials, and corporate presentations.  His PBS credits include, American Experience, NOVA, and Frontline films.  Recent productions have included the award winning series, The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.

Why This Is Important

These are the words of people featured in the documentary:

Rev. Peter J. Gomes (Professor at Harvard University's Divinity School), "The fact of the matter is whether your ancestor's had a direct hand in this or not, the culture that they entered into and which we now inherit is tainted by this.  Somebody's got to deal with it."

Leon Litwack (Pulitzer Prize recipient and Professor of American History Emeritus at University of California Berkeley), "First you murder the people and then you murder the memory of the people, so you get a double lynching."

Brian Favors (Director of Sankofa Community Empowerment), "Those of us who were robbed of our culture and don't know our names just so happen to be the people who are the most disempowered.  This story has implications for healing amongst different cultures.  From an African American perspective, I see this as respecting our ancestors.  We learn to respect ourselves.  We come from greatness.  And we learn to respect each other, see, because you love your neighbor like you love yourself, so if I don't love myself, I don't respect my neighbor.  We wonder why African American communities throughout the country are killing each other.  Everybody wants to talk about these racial issues:  How can we bridge the gap?  How can we deal with this?  I believe Love Cemetery... I believe what you've opened up with this cemetery and challenging people to think about this past, to reconnect with our ancestors, it is foundational.  It is the first step."

You Can Make A Difference With Us

Even before the film is finished, we're having an impact.  Our efforts helped get legislation passed in Texas that enforces people's rights to access their cemeteries.  We have connected with groups like the Alliance for Truth and Racial Reconciliation, Facing History and Ourselves, and Sankofa Community Empowerment led by Brian Favors.  SCE, for example, empowers the next generation of African-Americans by reconnecting them with their history.  Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward.  With that in mind, we've had success with the students at the historically black Wiley College.  They have taken an active role in cleaning and preserving Love Cemetery.  This has awakened an interest in their personal histories and has inspired many of them to move forward in a positive direction with confidence and pride.

We are also contributing to a larger movement throughout the country.  This is a movement to honor the burial grounds of enslaved people and to create a healing conversation about race in America today.  The recent documentary Meet Me In the Bottom chronicles the community discussion about the future of an historic burial ground for enslaved and free blacks in downtown Richmond, Virginia.  Another example is the signed proclamation in 2006 by President George W. Bush designating the African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan, New York City as the 123rd National Monument.  Historians estimate there may have been 15,000-20,000 burials there. The site's excavation and study was called the most important historic urban archeological project in the United States.

This is a growing movement and Love Cemetery is at the forefront.   We believe that the completion of the Resurrecting Love documentary will reach a wide audience and bring the required attention to the human right of reasonable access to visit your family's cemetery.  In addition, the empowerment these cemeteries give African-American communities, and the opportunities they provide for racial reconciliation are inspiring, hopeful and momentous.

We need your help.

What We Need & What You Can Do

We need funds to complete the documentary.  After ten years of research and documentation, 200 hours of footage, 80 interviews, and 1600 pages of transcriptions we are in need of your help.  Our goal is to have the film completed in 2012 and submit it to the Sundance Film Festival.  Our next step is to complete a fine cut of the film.  In order to do this, our small production must hire a full time staff for the next two months.  The budget of $36,000 will go to office rental, full-time editor, assistant editor, writer, and producer in order to complete the fine cut. Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated.  Our fiscal sponsor is the San Francisco Film Society, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, so your donations are tax deductible.  Also, please take a look at the "Perks for your contribution" section to your right.  These are our way of saying thank you for your generosity.

Other Ways You Can Help

Over the past ten years we have seen the power that a grass roots community has when it comes to a worthwhile cause.  Word of mouth is the best way a documentary like ours can reach the people it needs to reach.  We ask for your help in putting the word out by connecting to our Facebook page, posting it on your Wall, and by sending links to our IndieGoGo page.  With your help we can open the right doors.  Thank you for your support!

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  • $5USD

    Thank you for your support! Every dollar helps and your name will be listed on the film’s website as a supporter.

    1 claimed
  • $10USD

    As a Special Thanks your name will be listed as a supporter on the film’s website. Additionally, you will have a personal link to view select film scenes.

    15 claimed
  • $25USD

    Everything above, as well as a Thank You along with a listing of your own page on IMDb – The Internet Movie Database.

    15 claimed
  • $50USD
    Coming Together

    Everything above, along with your private link to download a completed copy of the "Resurrecting Love" film when it is completed.

    14 claimed
  • $100USD

    Everything above, as well as a signed, special edition "Resurrecting Love" internet poster.

    10 claimed
  • $250USD
    Common Ground

    Everything above, PLUS a Thank You listed in the film credits.

    6 claimed
  • $500USD

    Everything above, PLUS two tickets to a special screening in San Francisco (transportation not included).

    1 claimed
  • $1,000USD

    Everything above, PLUS two tickets to the film’s World Premiere (transportation not included).

    0 claimed
  • $2,500USD

    Everything above, PLUS a special lunch with author China Galland and an autographed copy of her book, Love Cemetery, which the movie is based upon.

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Honoring the Ancestors

    Everything above, PLUS a special lunch with director, Ben Galland.

    0 claimed
  • $10,000USD
    Keepers of Love

    Everything above, PLUS an inscribed hard cover copy of Love Cemetery and a Co-Producer credit listing in the film.

    0 claimed
  • $30,000USD
    Resurrecting Love

    Everything above, PLUS Executive Producer credit listing in the film.

    0 claimed
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