Isaac Pope's 100th birthday on December 17, 2017, was celebrated at an event graciously hosted by Saint Augustus AME Zion Church in Kinston, NC, where the first screening of "Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century" was held, followed by a catered dinner. Nearly 200 members of Isaac Pope's family, members of the congregation, friends, and others from Kinston attended. Newly-elected Kinston Mayor Dontario Hardy and Mayor Pro Tem Felicia Solomon presented a Proclamation paying tribute to Isaac Pope. Current President of the NAACP's Kinston/Lenoir County Branch, Abdur-Rhim Saleem, read a letter of appreciation and congratulation from national NAACP Chairman Leon Russell and CEO/President Derrick Johnson, and a letter from NC Senator Don Davis was read.
Photos by Joseph Friedman:
The esteemed, magnificent Congressman John Lewis sent this letter to Isaac Pope. How lovely is this! Thanks so much to Jay Luster for letting the Congressman know about our dear Isaac.
Gifted journalist Jay Luster wrote this terrific, moving article about Isaac Pope and the film for City to Country magazine https://www.citytocountrymag.org The article is named on the cover of the current issue, there is one of Potter Photography & Design's beautiful photos of Isaac in the Table of Contents, and then you can read the story, which is the first of Jay's two-part series about Isaac.
Here is the second of Jay Luster's two articles about Isaac Pope.
Our film's producer, Paula J. Caplan, was invited to write an article about Isaac Pope and the film for the Newsletter of the African American Historical and Geneological Society http://www.aahgs.org. It appeared in the January 2018 issue.
February 11th, 2018
Sunday in Kinston, NC, at the GI Joe Museum, organized and helmed by the dynamic, caring veteran Eric Cantu, a terrific crowd attended the celebration and honoring of our dear Isaac Pope as a Black History Month event. A wonderfully mixed crowd including three people who appear in our film -- Isaac's grand-niece Patricia Harris, Sarone Cannon, and Dwayne Pope -- attended, watched the trailer of our film and the first couple of minutes of the film-in-progress, and heard a description of some of the brave and important ways Isaac Pope has served his community and his country. In the photo below of the program for the event, that beautiful photograph of Isaac is by the gifted, generous folks at Potter Photography & Design! The event was covered by Courtney Allen from WNCT-TV, and you can see the clip here. http://wnct.com/…/world-war-ii-veteran-isaac-pope-honored-…/Thanks also to Carol Cantu for the feast she organized and to everyone at the museum and from the community who attended.
Here you can see the Kinston Free Press's advance story about the event. http://www.kinston.com/news/20180206/veterans-to-host-black-history-program-honoring-isaac-pope
This article about Isaac Pope and the film appeared in the February 2018 issue of The Star of Zion. The photo on the first page is of Isaac Pope and Dr. Cynthia Barnes and was taken by Joseph Friedman.
The Kinston, NC, premiere in Isaac Pope's hometown was held on December 17, 2018, on what would have been his 101st birthday. It was graciously hosted by Mayor Dontario Hardy and the City of Kinston.
Here is the WITN news segment that night:
And this is the segment from that night's WNCT news:
Far left and far right: Isaac Pope's relatives Virginia Ellison Wright and Johnette Cozart, Producer Paula J. Caplan, and Kinston Mayor Dontario Hardy.
From left, Isaac's relatives Johnette Cozart and Donald Ellison, then Mayor Dontario Hardy and his wife, Angela Hardy
Courtney Patterson, a Vice President of the North Carolina NAACP, who appears in the film.
From left, Isaac's relatives Johnette Cozart, Donald Ellison, and Valerie Solomon.
At the special, private screening for the NAACP National Board Friday evening, February 15, 2019, which was impelled by the remarkable Mildred Bond Roxborough and endorsed by NAACP Chairman of the Board Leon W. Russell, magic happened. The NAACP's long, courageous history was such a meaningful context for "Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century" isaacpopefilm.com, because Isaac lived through 100 years of racism and, as soon as he was old enough, spent decades quietly, persistently, intelligently, and courageously working in an astonishing array of ways for the equality of all and for peace among us. Click through collage to view images!
Here is the wonderful Ebony Ray, Administrative Manager, Development, for the NAACP, who helped in so many ways to make this event happen and go smoothly!
Back on December 26, 2018, "Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century" http://isaacpopefilm.com had a special screening for the AME Zion Church's National Education Conference.
Pictured here, from left, are Dr. E. Wiseman; Rev. Robyn Anderson, Chair of the Commission on Family Life for the A.M.E. Zion Church; Dr. Paula J. Caplan, film producer ; Dr. Brenda L.G. Smith, General Secretary/Treasurer, Christian Education Department, A.M.E. Zion Church; Rev.Dr. Julian Pridgen, Pastor, St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church; Mr. Joseph K. Davis, Jr., Immediate Past President of the Assembly of Christian Educators of A.M. E. Zion Church, and Editor of Laity Speaks Newsletter of the Connectional Lay Council. Photo by Darin Kent.
The Feb. 26 screening of "Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century" at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, cosponsored by Harvard's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research and Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation was graced by informative and inspiring words from discussant Michael Curry (pictured below with me in photo by Rena Baskin) from the NAACP's National Board. One of the attendees was Ron E. Armstead, pictured below, founder and driving force behind the Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust and a veteran himself. Gratitude to the Carr Center's driving force Tim McCarthy for making it happen and to Jana Brown for all her help!
The screening was followed by the panel discussion in this video, led by NAACP National Board Member Michael Curry and producer Paula J. Caplan. Unfortunately, the recording ends before the Q&A with the audience begins, though the questions and comments about the film were terrific.
If you want to be deeply moved, please take 9 minutes to watch this brilliant dance piece about Isaac Pope's life -- including audio of his voice -- that was conceived and created by the brilliant choreographer Alex Chevrier! She named it "726" because he died on July 26. It was performed at the VetsStories event in November, 2018, that was helmed with passion and commitment by Wendy Snow Walker in Goldsboro, NC.
The film has received these awards:
Award of Excellence in the Docs Without Borders Film Festival
Award of Excellence in the Depth of Field International Film Festival
Award of Merit in ImpactDOCS Film Festival
Award of Excellence in the WRPN Women's International Film Festival
The film is an Official Selection in these film festivals:
The award was presented September 13, 2019 on Capitol Hill
and the film's Director and Editor Rock Grant
and Producer and Writer Paula J. Caplan were there to accept it.
The Isaac Pope film has been selected by the Socially Relevant Film Festival for a special Black Voices retrospective that took place on Friday, August 21 — Saturday, August 22.
More information about the online event can be found here: