A Peculiar Freedom

In Development

BREAKING NEWS...Off The Grid Productions in association with Olaleye Communications, Inc. has received a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Media Development grant to consult with scholars/historians, write a script, shoot a trailer, and complete a full Production Proposal for our two-part (60 minutes each part) documentary series titled A Peculiar Freedom: Portraits of Black New England. A Peculiar Freedom tells interconnected stories about free people of color in New England, from 1785 to 1885, as they travel, literally and metaphorically, to achieve justice for themselves and their communities.

The phrase “peculiar freedom” defines free Black life in the Northeast between the 1780s and 1900, when white racism limited the opportunities of Black citizens, resulting in their social, political, and economic disenfranchisement. Our project reveals the struggle free Black New Englanders undertook to enjoy the rights of full citizenship when the United States was still “half-slave and half-free.” The story of “race” in America lies at the core of our documentary.  However, our film also highlights matters related to race, including the meaning of “a nation of laws,” rights that land ownership confers, and the ability to secure a life of prosperity, dignity, and freedom to successive generations of Black Americans.

All these issues and more are on full display in the lives of the featured personalities we will delineate.  The importance of the stories of Lucy Terry Prince, Loudon Langley, Martin Freeman, Robert Morris, and Harriet E. Wilson still resonates across our society today.

Our filmmaking team is made up of award-winning filmmakers Nora Jacobson and Natasha Ngaiza, internationally recognized artist and photographer Reginald Jackson, and historian/writer and scholar William Hart. Our team of advisers include Henry Louis Gates, Jr. , screenwriter Richard Wesley, and P. Gabrielle Foreman among many others.