(WXYZ) - The Documentary Film, "Madman or Martyr?" originated with a challenge by a History Teacher to create a project for Black History Month. Luke Jaden met the challenge, which took him on a five month odyssey into the life of 'radical' abolitionist John Brown and the history of abolition in Detroit during the1830's, 40's, and 50's. In fact, Brown transported 11 slaves along the 'Underground Railroad' to its Detroit hub in 1859, just days before Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, in West Virginia. Indeed, Brown and the 'Railroad' had an immense and profound influence upon the City of Detroit.
For Luke the Project meant working through the enormous task of producing his film. Countless hours of fashioning the research material, lining up the extensive interview sessions with experts, and working with the City of Detroit, which provided significant assistance to Jaden.
The 17-year-old Country day High school student sought out the talents of Detroit 'Voice Artist' and Actor Ed Kelly, who narrates and plays the role of John Brown in the Production. Jaden then turned to Tim Holmes from OZ, The Great and Powerful and to TV's Prison Break with Phillip Edward Van Lear to complete the cast. Jaden is now preparing for the world premiere of his documentary film.
The gala will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 East Warren Avenue, in Detroit on January 31st, at 6:00 PM with a Q&A to follow the showing. The director and some of the cast and crew will take part.
The event is open to all and is free of charge.