Edgefield, S.C.- A film about a CSRA man’s efforts to push civil rights in both Georgia and South Carolina just hit the big screen. His son Bennie R. Mitchell wrote, produced, and directed a documentary that tells all.
“If you had a prescription, you could get it filled in Lynch’s Drug store, but you could not sit in that drug store”
Genovesi Mitchell remembers his brother making an impact on the community of Edgefield at the age of 15.
“He made it known that this is not right, but it happened, and I think he took a stand toward that, but he was a young man then,” he said.
His brother says after finishing college, Rev. Mitchell continued his activism in Savannah. Spending nearly 40 years of his life making a difference. Parts of those moments captured by his son, Bennie R. Mitchell the third at just 12 years old.
“At the very beginning of the film, the opening credits, there’s a shot of Coretta Scott King and my father at the capitol, when they started to sign the holiday into existence that was me and you could tell by the elevated angle,” says filmmaker, Bennie R. Mitchell III.
Mitchell calls the film a divine assignment. The documentary took more than a decade for him to put together. Two and half of those years spent pulling together footage of his father’s speaking engagements.
He says, “I had to gather all of these things, which were already gathered, my father kept his whole library.”
Then he began writing his father’s story. One that Mitchell felt was important for people to know.
“It’s important for people to watch this, especially the youth, to see this because they will be shoved with the same leaders, not taking anything away from them, but there were more than one leader that led the movement or led the direction for the people towards the movement,” Mitchell said. “It just so happens MLK was the focus of the movement, I wanted the younger generation to see, that it was more than just one person, the movement is more than just one person, the movement is more than just one decade,” he added.
Mitchell says his father was instrumental to the civil rights movement out in Savannah, but his civil rights efforts were rooted in Edgefield.
“When they integrated the pharmacy, they took their time leaving and they said hey the country may have said we integrated but Edgefield has not and were not,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell says his father put actions behind his words during a time when it was dangerous for Blacks to speak out in places like Edgefield, South Carolina.
“I felt like he was fearless to even try that the very day first day that they integraed the country”
The documentary “It is Well” is now available on Amazon. There is also a scholarship established in Rev. Mitchell’s honor that is now open to applications.