Retired Georgia Court of Appeals Chief Judge Herbert Phipps is featured in a documentary being screened at Georgia Tech Wednesday about a man whose lawyers saved his life.
“Fair Game: Surviving a 1960 Georgia Lynching,” will be shown at Tech’s student center theater at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The film focuses on the small town of Blakely in Early County, Georgia, where 24 African-American men were lynched and where, in 1960, a New Jersey Navy veteran James Fair Jr. almost became the 25th.
“This narrative chronicles the riveting 26-month campaign spearheaded by Fair’s mother, who unwittingly raised the money, mobilized the media and assembled a crackerjack legal team willing to go to the mat for her son,” the film description on the Georgia Tech website said. “Featuring Clinton presidential adviser Vernon Jordan, a law clerk on the case, and former White House Secretary Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, who hails from the town where the case unfolded, the 65-minute film offers an unforgettable portrait of Jim Crow justice gone awry.”
Following the screening, the filmmaker, Clennon L. King, will answer questions from the audience, the university’s announcement said.
King dedicated his film to the men who died in Early County and to his late father, Georgia’s legendary civil rights attorney C.B. King of Albany, who along with the late Atlanta attorney Donald L. Hollowell represented Fair. They managed to free him from a death sentence passed by a local judge—without a jury or a trial—when Fair happened to stop by Blakely on a trip with a friend. Fair was accused of a murder that happened before he arrived.
The filmmaker’s father was a mentor and friend to Phipps, who drew inspiration to go to law school after watching him in court. King was the first black attorney in Albany; Phipps was the second. They later practiced together before Phipps became a judge. Albany is the nearest city to the small town of Blakely.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested. Georgia Tech has a website set up under the film’s title.