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 Film Hopes to Preserve Church Street History

Like the fading of an old photograph, the memories of what Norfolk’s Church Street once was are slowly disappearing. Before that happens, a group of students from Norfolk State University’s Legacy Media Institute is capturing tales and photos of its days of glory.

Church Street—A Community Legacy is the culminating project for the 14 students who took part in the intensive, three-week Legacy Media Institute, a partnership between NSU and alumnus Tim Reid, actor, producer and filmmaker. The Institute, housed in the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism, provides students with real-world experience in the filmmaking industry.

The young filmmakers—12 NSU students, one from London and another from Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Va.—premiered the documentary at the Institute’s closing ceremony.

Church Street was once a vibrant business center, where African Americans shopped and many blacks owned their businesses and employed others. The surrounding Huntersville community where residents lived, raised their families and worshipped served as the area’s “town” and Church Street was its Main Street.

However, the decades since the 1940s and ’50s, have not been kind. Progress—integration and redevelopment—have taken a toll on the once proud area. The students are incorporating what they have learned over the past few weeks into this production and more importantly, helping to preserve history that might have just faded away.

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