Director: Resita Cox Run Time: 29 min. Release Year: 2022
Princeville sits atop swampy land along the Tar River in North Carolina. In the 1800’s this land was disregarded and deemed uninhabitable by white people. After the Civil War, this indifference left it available for freed Africans to settle. Before its incorporation, residents called it ‘Freedom Hill,’ gradually establishing a self-sufficient town. Resting along the floodplain of the river, Princeville residents are no strangers to adversity. The historical town has been inundated with flooding over the centuries. Freedom Hill is a documentary that explores the environmental racism that is washing away the town of 2,000 through the lens of Marquetta Dickens, a Princeville native who recently moved back to help save her hometown and whose grandmother cast the historic vote in 99’ as mayor against the federal and state government’s recommendation to simply move the town elsewhere.
Please stay following the film for a Q&A with filmmaker Resita Cox moderated by Latoya Robinson from Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods.
Resita Cox’s films are a poetic portrayal of her community’s irrepressible spirit and resilience in the face of racism. Her documentary film work is people based, meaning it not only features unique, personal stories, but it also prioritizes relationships and is constantly working to reimagine an equitable filmmaking model. Born and raised in the South, her films center Southern, Black communities and use them as a lens to examine topics ranging from environmental justice to racial justice. With a degree in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Resita started her career as a storyteller in TV news as a reporter in North Carolina and later in Chicago. Resita has worked with Kartemquin Films as the Impact Producer on their Emmy-nominated docu-series produced with The Marshall Project, We Are Witnesses. She is the director of Freedom Hill, an award-winning documentary about the environmental racism that is washing away the first town chartered by Black people in the nation, with which she was named a 2021 Hulu/Kartemquin Accelerator Fellow and premiered at the 2022 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and has since screened across the country and Canada. She holds an MFA from Northwestern University in Documentary Film and is a 2021 North Star fellow with Points North Institute. Resita was recently named a 2022 Esteemed Artist by the City of Chicago and is one of Elevate’s 2022 Climate Changemakers