Berkeley, (CA) – In 1995 Doug Harris' film career started to launch. Becoming a multi award Winner with his documentaries as well as being a Berkeley native and former college basketball All American. With a Masters Degree from the California State University of Monterey Bay so led the journey to an Emmy Nominated filmmaker. This month is very special for Doug Harris as he has not one film but two films in circulation in the PBS lineup. "The Pete Newell Story", Basketball Guru and one of the greatest untold basketball stories of all time and "Fair Legislation- The Byron Rumford Story", is the story about the fair housing act in California. A three year long project. In the beginning of this project, Doug knew nothing until his mother who is very socially conscience started telling her son that he needed to do a story about Byron Rumford. Not knowing who Byron was, his mother gave Doug a book to read about Rumford. Doug eventually met Rumford's daughter asking her what did she think of Doug writing a documentary about her father Byron. The more Doug read about Byron the more Doug understood why his mother wanted to do this project. More importantly Doug's mom would have never been able to purchase the home that Doug grew up in - north Berkeley. A real special moment for Doug's mom when the premiere was celebrated in Sacramento at the State's capital in mid February. A film for her to see come full circle.
Some of the hurdles that were faced putting "Fair Legislation" together - Doug found it both odd and strange that during his research digs about the Pro Proposition 14 advocates to repeal, no one had any archival news footage of any protests from the 1964 General Election. No interviews or news reports of those in favor - the newscasts had interviewed lots of people. All except for one interview that was found which is in the documentary. Harris had the news logs but just could not find the footage on the film reels which would have made for a better documentary. Very controversial subject matter as at the time California was considered to be s liberal state.
How Much Has Changed: "It's a very complex situation with housing today," said Harris. A lot has changed. TheFair Housing Act allowed no segregation and restored in 1967, allowing minorities to purchase or rent in California. What you see from today allowing anyone to purchase or rent in more desirable areas. 7th Street in Oakland was the Black Mecca of the day. We are seeing the black population diminish in Oakland and Berkeley, "Can it or will it ever come back? "That's a tough question. With the spiraling rent on the East Bay, people are now being forced out further east or relocating back to where they originally came from - down south... A very complexed situation."
With his first commercial film titled, "Bounce", The Don Barksdale Story which aired on FOX Sports. Don was the Jackie Robinson of basketball that nobody knew of. He was the first black basketball player for the Olympic Basketball team in 1948 and the NBA All Stars in 1953. Harris made a documentary film about Don as he was the person who drafted Doug for the Golden State Warriors in 1983 and a personal friend. In 2012 this documentary helped to present the Don Barksdale Story to the world which in fact helped Don into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Favorite Sports Documentary - "When We Were Kings"
George Foreman / Muhammad Ali.
What is next on your list: Next PBS documentary - "Called Up" the story of Emmett Ashford, the Major leagues first black umpire.
"Fair Legislation The Byron Rumford Story", has aired over 45 different PBS markets. Doug Harris owns his production company called - DougHarrisMedia.com. For more information about the days and times for your local listings go to PBS.org.