Carver Court Connections

Carver Court is a 55 year old property of the Orlando housing authority, and home to over 200 families. As in many communities, a gulf exists between Carver Court's youth and its elders, some of whom had lived on the property for more than 50 years. In an effort to reconnect their generations, younger residents learned
basic interview techniques and began to collect the older residents' remarkable stories, from Mr. Lockhart's life in the circus, to Mrs. Siplin's recollection of Emmet Till, a boy murdered for whistling at a white girl, to Mr. Danner's harrowing experiences in the last all-black units of the US Army during the Korean War. This film is a record of those histories, and of the bonds formed by their telling.

Nearly a year in the making, this film weaves the compelling life stories of eight African American elders as told to sixth and seventh grade students.

Marie Siplin was a twelve-year-old girl working in a Mississippi cotton field when she learned about the murder of 15 year old Emmet Till for whistling at a white girl. The killing was one of the earliest galvanizing events in the US civil rights movement. Ninety two year old James Lockhart relates his years in the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and why he settled in Orlando. He offers frank and sage counsel to the young students of Carver Court.

Retired Carver Court manager, Fletcher Danner recalls his service in the last segregated units of the US Army during the Korean War. His 500 man 2nd Cavalry Division of Buffalo Soldiers was ambushed by North Korean and Chinese soldiers and only 15 members survived.

Middle school students interview the seniors and share their understanding of how life has changed for African Americans since the 1930's.

Festival Screenings:

April 2002

Tambay Film Festival Jury Award

May 2002

Stand Film and Video Festival

August 2002

Salt Lake Film Festival

November 2002

Detroit Docs Film Festival


"This is top-quality visual storytelling...

In 30 packed minutes, the Carver Court Connections touches on a wide range of aspects of the African-American experience in the South, showing the rich and painful heritage of elders born in a segregated world not that far removed from slavery."

The Orlando Sentinel

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