I'm busy working on a documentary about the lives of Clifford and Virginia Durr for Alabama Public Television. In the past few months, my cinematographer Justin Gaar and I have traveled around the south to film interviews with a variety of Southern historians. The story of the Durrs is a remarkable one, and I'm excited to be working on a film about such principled and admirable Southerners. They represent a kind of transformation narrative that has all the hallmarks of an engaging and emotional drama. It's likely that you've never heard of the Durrs, so if you're interested you can read Cliff's Wikipedia entry here and Virginia's here.

In doing research the past few months and reading their letters and other writing, I've come to identify with them both, but especially with Virginia. Moving back to Montgomery in the early 50s, Cliff and Virginia quickly found themselves involved in the early stirrings of what would become the Civil Rights Movement. Writing to a friend about her feelings on returning South, Virginia said, "The only time I like it is when I'm trying to change it." I've certainly felt that way myself from time to time...

I've started a Twitter account for the film where I'll be periodically posting quotes from Cliff or Virginia and occassional updates on production. Please follow along if you'd like @Virginia_Durr. Incidentally, you can follow me on Twitter @andrewebeckgrace 

Interviewing Clay Carson, Memphis

Tearing apart a hotel room for the interview...The legal historian Laura Edwards at her home in Chapel Hill.

The dean of Southern history, Dan Carter, at his home outside Brevard, North Carolina.

Justin shooting on a dolly in Wilson Library, UNC.The original oral history interview tapes from Virginia Durr, 1974