Film draws TV attention

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

GARYSBURG – One woman’s effort to chronicle her father’s life in a documentary has caught the attention of a popular television figure.

On Friday and Sunday (July 9 and July 11), Anna Jones, the daughter of the late James H. Jones, will be featured on UNC-TV’s North Carolina People with William Friday.

“I’m just trying to get the word out,” said Jones about her interview with Dr. Friday. “I hope it will attract more supporters. It’s a positive for Northampton County.”

Jones is currently producing a documentary film, “Chairman Jones: A Portrait of My Father,” which relates Mr. Jones’ life story as well has his rise to become the first African-American to serve on the Northampton County Board of Education.

Born to a family of sharecroppers in 1916 on Longview Plantation, Mr. Jones learned the importance of education when his own was cut short because of work and Jim Crow Laws.

Anna Jones said her father rejected his plight and eventually became independent. His appointment to the Board of Education came in 1971 and he was voted chairman 10 years later.

Jones’ life was tragically cut short in a farming accident in 1984. Today (Tuesday) will mark the 26th anniversary of his death.

Making trips to Northampton County and interviewing those who knew her father, Anna Jones has been working on the documentary with a crew from Tree House Productions, based in Hillsborough, for more than a year.

The project is currently being sponsored by the Southern Documentary Fund, but Jones said contributions are always needed to help the film along. Jones said she still needs to interview a few key people to complete the documentary.

“Funding is always a problem,” she said. “That’s what has really slowed (the filming process).”

However, Jones feels hopeful with the attention she has received from Dr. Friday and North Carolina People.

“It’s a big door,” Jones said about the interview. “Maybe nothing will come out of it, but hopefully something will.”

During a presentation to promote support for the film, Jones was approached by Dr. Friday.

“It caught Dr. Friday’s attention and he wanted to interview me for his show,” she said. “I couldn’t believe my good fortune.”

Her father’s leadership on the Board of Education and how it ushered in a new era in education, race relations and progress in Northampton County will be discussed on the show.

The 30 minute show will air at 9 p.m. on Friday and at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. For those who cannot catch the television broadcast can watch the interview online beginning Saturday at

Tax deductible donations for the film can be sent to: Southern Documentary Fund, Chairman Jones Project, 762 Ninth Street, Box 574, Durham, NC, 27705. Make check payable to: the Southern Documentary Fund.

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