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Always Remember, You are a Madison


Charlottesville – Nov. 13. Another day went by sorting music and images to conform a sequence based on Bettye Kearse’s “The Other Madisons”, a biographical tell which can also be read as a window into one of the most painful chapters of American history.

The edit begins with two images from the post-civil war era, and Betty on camera telling us of how the family motto finally crystalized to frame the story as a product of the relationship between a president of the United States and Coreen, one of his enslaved women.

Always remember, you are a Madison. You come from African slaves and a President.

What follows is our tribute to the land where Coreen and her mother Mandy, are presumed to be buried. In the process we are assisted by two good friends and knowledgeable experts, in one hand Lynn Rainville who has spent a lifetime researching and unpacking the history of African American graveyards in America, and in the other Matthew Reeves, archeologist at James Madisons Montpelier where Mandy and Coreen remains enslaved to the end.

If all is well, and there’s no reason to believe otherwise at this point, “The Other Madisons” will be ready for release in mid-February to help us mitigate the somberness of this never-ending social distancing, this captivity of sorts, this new plague we must endure.

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