by filmmaker Leah Mahan
Derrick Evans and I met in the late 1980s while working as research interns for filmmaker Henry Hampton on the Eyes on the Prize series about the civil rights movement. He went on to teach in the Boston Public Schools and at local colleges and we remained friends over the years as I worked on my first two documentaries. Derrick often talked about his family in Turkey Creek, and about his childhood in Mississippi before he left with a scholarship to an East Coast high school. In 2001, after a decade teaching social studies and civil rights history, he asked me to make a visit to Turkey Creek to help him record oral history. Neither of us had any idea that trip would change the course of Derrick’s life and that I would spend the next decade following his story with my camera.