All American: The Walter Gordon Story

Hi, my name is Doug Harris, and I'm a filmmaker currently fundraising for the "All American: The Walter Gordon Story" documentary film project.

"All American" is the untold story about a 20th Century civil rights and social justice pioneer who was the early forerunner of the diversity, equity and inclusion movement in the Bay Area and throughout California. Walter Gordon’s legacy in college sports, law enforcement, civil rights law, and state & federal government helped pave the way for generations of countless African Americans seeking a better life everywhere.

Watch our GoFundMe video presentation

At this point, our project team is in need of your financial support to help get our "All American: The Walter Gordon Story” documentary completed so we can share this exciting story with television viewers around the country through our PBS station partner KVIE Sacramento.

Your kind donation will help us to raise the needed funding for our team to:

• Film the remaining interviews
• Acquire clearances & licensing for archival film footage & photographs
• Develop and arrange the documentary’s musical soundtrack
• Complete all post production editing
• Acquire errors & omissions insurance for PBS television broadcasts

My story about the challenging journey of producing this documentary…

I began the initial work on the development of this documentary back in late 2017, when I was approached by Walter Gordon’s great grandson Craig Woolridge (my high school classmate) who felt that I would be the best person to tell this compelling story. A short time later in February of 2018, the documentary project was completely derailed when I experienced a pancreatic attack that landed me in Alta Bates Hospital for 7 long months.

During my stay in the hospital, I was fortunate to overcome bouts with heart failure, kidney failure/dialysis, sepsis, and blood clots, which led to a series of six endoscopy procedures that finally led to my full recovery from this life-threatening ordeal. After the 2019 yearlong process of my recovering, I managed to pick the “All American” documentary project back up as told in this 2020 East Bay Times article…

A few months later, the complete societal shut-down from the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to shelve the project once again. Coupled with the pandemic, I was forced to return to Berkeley to care for my aging mother who was experiencing her own serious health bouts with cancer and dementia. During the pandemic, “All American” co-producer Brian Spencer and I spent considerable time researching Walter Gordon’s storied life to the extent that we were able to develop a sound storyline for the documentary.

In our efforts to tell this story, we have sought out a strong cast of interview subjects that range from sportswriters, authors, historians, educators, and government officials who could provide the best possible commentary to drive our film’s complex storyline. And despite COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, my son/cinematographer (Douglas Jr.) and I were fortunate enough to film a few initial interviews that we compiled into our short preview of the film. (see below)

Watch our short All American documentary preview...

Walter Gordon lived an extremely complex life, and one of our goals in producing this film will be to take viewers on a historical journey that examines how he was able to successfully navigate through the world of college sports and the highest levels of government. And this occurred during the Jim Crow Era, when few if any opportunities were afforded to people of color.

In October 2022, our documentary team took time out to help raise awareness about Walter Gordon by honoring his monumental achievements at the University of California, Berkeley where his fascinating legacy started. The 100th anniversary tribute celebrated his graduation from the university’s law school, his founding of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity chapter, and his role as an assistant football coach in leading the Cal Golden Bears to a 9-0 season record and their second consecutive NCAA national championship.

Watch Walter Gordon's 100th Anniversary highlight video…

We intend to complete and share this film with PBS viewers across the US, who will be able to watch it both as a broadcast program and on their own local station’s PBS website. My sincere hope is that this story will inspire people from all walks of life to roll up their sleeves and work harder towards improving race relations in America.

And your kind financial support will go a long way towards making this a reality.

Doug Harris
Documentary Filmmaker
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Doug Harris
Berkeley, CA

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