Anthony Crawford was one of the wealthiest men in Abbeville, South Carolina, with over 400 acres of land; his farm was successful and self-sustained. Crawford employed the Black community. Anthony Crawford was murdered on October 21,1916, by a mob of over 200 white men, and then they lynched him. HOBO films documentary Crawford: The Man the South Forgot follows the 14-year journey of his great-granddaughter Doria Dee Johnson as she advocates for the town to acknowledge the lynching and to create a memorial in her grandfather’s name. BGN spoke with HOBO Films Head of Development, editor/producer Tiffany Jackman, about her process in uncovering this powerful story.
How did you find this story?
I’ve been working with HOBO films for about a year on this show called The System, which is about how minority teens are targeted for the same things that their white counterparts do, but minority kids are placed in the prison system. Howard Bowler, who owns HOBO films, had all of this footage on a hard drive from 2002. He really wanted the film to be made, so he asked me to take a look at the footage and see if we could finish this story.
It was hours and hours of footage. I researched more of the story, and it was like looking at gold. It’s such a rich story. This family deserves to have this story out there. That’s what drew me in. I had the urge to finish it for Doria and the family.
Living with the hours of footage of this brutal lynching must have been traumatizing. How long did you work on this project?
About a year or so. The main thing was I had to find the story. Within hours and hours of footage, there were so many storylines that I could have gone down. Like, the need for reparations, even if it’s not for America in general, just for this one family. There were so many different angles. But the storyline that I was able to craft a complete arc out of was the need for the town to recognize this man, what he contributed to the town, and how great of a person he was.
How were you able to nourish yourself while dealing with this brutal content?
Wow. Well, in terms of like, nourishing myself… Because a lot of it was heavy, some days I’d just have to take a break. I’d work on something fun, like shooting a music video. Sometimes you have to step away because it’s… a lot, you know. To think that it’s still… I mean to compare that with everything that is still going on in the world right now in America… it’s a lot. Sometimes I just needed to take a walk.