A couple of you mentioned watching the Mountaintop-to-Tap video linked to Friday’s post. Three days before we set off on the trek, a man called me from Delhi, NY. He said he was a dairy farmer, had read about the project in the local paper and wanted to film it. With all the headaches trying to launch this thing, I thought, now a dairy farmer wants to film it. Kent Garrett said arthritis was driving him from farming, and he wanted to return to his career as a filmmaker. He also said he’d do the project for free. We agreed to meet at the Belleayre Ski Center in the Catskills. When I arrived, the only other person there was an African-American man. But, hey, I was in a ski resort looking for a dairy farmer. So I waited. When nobody else showed up, I went over. “I’m Kent Garrett,” he said.
He was not your typical dairy farmer. A 1963 graduate of Harvard, Kent had spent 30 years in television news and documentary films, winning two Emmy’s and a Peabody for his pioneering “Black Journal.” With no planning time, he and d.b. Roderick created an unforgettable record of the three-week trek. Kent’s current project is “The Last Negroes at Harvard”, the story of the 19 people of color, including himself, who entered the college in 1959. Five years after Brown v. Board of Education, that was the largest number in Harvard's history.
It’s amazing the people you meet on the other side of your assumptions.