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Avon Kirkland

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Information about Avon Kirkland

Profile image of Avon Kirkland

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Film Producer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Barbecue Ribs
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
There Can Be No Perfect Democracy Curtailed By Color, Race Or Poverty But With All, We Accomplish All, Even Peace. - W.E.B. DuBois

Birthplace

Born:
11/27/1936
Birth Location:
Jacksonville, Florida

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Film Producer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Barbecue Ribs
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
There Can Be No Perfect Democracy Curtailed By Color, Race Or Poverty But With All, We Accomplish All, Even Peace. - W.E.B. DuBois

Birthplace

Born:
11/27/1936
Birth Location:
Jacksonville
See how Avon Kirkland is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Film producer Avon Kirkland was born on November 27, 1936, in Jacksonville, Florida to his widowed mother, Lula Mae Durham Kirkland. His father, William Kirkland, died in an accident prior to Kirkland and his twin sister, Yvonne Kirkland Moody’s birth. After matriculating through Jacksonville’s Donald Cookland Elementary and New Stanton High, Kirkland, obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1958 from Clark University, now Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1964, he received his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Between 1964 and 1967, following three years of work as a research chemist for the Sinclair Research Laboratories in Harvey, Illinois, Kirkland began to lose interest in science and spent a year in New York City studying the guitar. From 1967 to 1968, he used his scientific training to design and facilitate a multifaceted after-school educational program for inner city children. This experience helped him create an elementary school reading and math programs for the Behavioral Research Labs of Palo Alto, California. In 1973, he took another year off and spent so much time watching television that he decided to pursue work in the television industry. From 1974 to 1977, he was the director of Instructional Service for KQED in San Francisco.

In 1977, Kirkland became the executive producer of Up & Coming, an hour-long drama featuring a black family, which ended in 1982 after twenty-five shows. Kirkland enjoyed this work immensely. He founded New Images Productions, a non-profit media production company in Berkeley, California, then devoted to creating films about the lives and experiences of African Americans. He serves as the primary writer, director and producer for many of the company's projects. His work includes Up From Slavery: The Triumph and Tragedy of Booker T. Washington, Ralph Ellison: An American Journey, Street Soldiers,Simple Justice and Booker. His films have received many honors and awards including the Blue Ribbon Award in 1981; the 1986 Prix Jeunesse International Prize; The CINE Golden Eagle, Best Public Affairs Documentary and a special showing at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

Mr. Kirkland is divorced and has one son. He resides in Berkeley, California, where he enjoys music and competitive tennis.

Avon Kirkland was interviewed by HistoryMakerson April 6, 2004.

See how Avon Kirkland is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Avon Kirkland's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes his maternal and paternal ancestors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland describes his extended family in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland describes his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes his earliest childhood memories, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland shares his favorite quote by W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland describes growing up in Jacksonville, Florida and the segregated South
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland describes the neighborhood in which he grew up in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland describes his neighbors in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland recalls organizing an unsuccessful strike at the King Edward Cigar Factory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland recalls attending church in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes his childhood temperament
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the quality of schools he attended in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Avon Kirkland describes jobs he held in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Avon Kirkland describes his activities at New Stanton High School in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Avon Kirkland describes Mr. Bryan, one of his teachers in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his decision to attend Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland describes his experiences at Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia and his admittance as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland compares Atlanta, Georgia to Jacksonville, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland recalls going to Italy through the Experiment in International Living program
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes developing his interest in drama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland remembers impressing other students on his study abroad trip with his knowledge of Italian operas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland describes reconnecting with a former fellow in California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes attending graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his experiences in social justice while attending Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland recalls transitioning from Chicago, Illinois to New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland recalls working for Behavioral Research Labs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland recalls moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in California and entering the field of television production
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS series 'Up and Coming', pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS series 'Up and Coming', pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS children's series 'Booker'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS miniseries 'Simple Justice,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes the PBS miniseries 'Simple Justice,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his mother's reaction to the pilot episode of 'Up and Coming'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland describes the origins of his documentary about the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland describes 'Street Soldiers' about the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland recalls that the Congressional Black Caucus screened 'Street Soldiers' on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland describes securing the rights to produce a documentary based on Ralph Ellison's life and works
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon of Ralph Ellison's writings and philosophy on African American identity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the controversy surrounding Booker T. Washington's life and work
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes others' perspectives of Booker T. Washington's life and work
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Avon Kirkland describes his process for developing, creating and producing documentary projects
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland describes his son Avery Julian Kirkland and former relationship with Evelyn Lewis
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon the meaning of intimacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Avon Kirkland talks about the importance of building assets
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Avon Kirkland describes activities he would like to do that he has not yet
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Avon Kirkland describes documentary projects he would like to pursue
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Avon Kirkland reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Avon Kirkland shares advice for young people interested in filmmaking
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Avon Kirkland describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Avon Kirkland describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Avon Kirkland describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Avon Kirkland narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Avon Kirkland narrates his photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Avon Kirkland narrates his photographs, pt. 3