TV-Filmed Version of Powerful Autobiographical Play "WHY HISTORY MATTERS: The Choctaw Project" Available on DVD

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In 1962 in Choctaw County, Alabama, 18-year-old Carl Ray witnessed his father's racially motivated murder at the hands of a white man who retaliated for young Ray's perceived disrespect in conversation. In 2004 educational programming station KLCS-TV/DT filmed the award-winning play for Los Angeles Unified School District curriculum and PBS special "WHY HISTORY MATTERS: The Choctaw Project." The program won awards for achievement in cultural programming, directing, set design, and creativity in cinematography.

There have been an overwhelming number of high-praise reviews of Ray's touching live performance of “A Killing in Choctaw;” his enthralling film documentary “A Killing in Choctaw: the Power of Forgiveness;” and his multi-award-winning PBS special and educational program “Why History Matters: the Choctaw Project.” It is now possible to own a copy of Ray's acclaimed real life account of growing up in Jim Crow-era Alabama. See for yourself what all the excitement it about! Why History Matters: the Choctaw Project is available at -- $20.00 (includes shipping & handling).

Parents should view this DVD with their children; every teacher with his or her students ... an important 75-minute lesson in Black History.

Los Angeles Public Broadcasting Station KLCS-TV/DT created a set replicating the porch where Ray's father was murdered and the Alabama courtroom where the actual trial took place. They filled the courtroom with jurors and spectators, then studio taped Ray's live performance for airing on its program "Facing History and Ourselves" and for Los Angeles School District curriculum. KLCS Channel 58 aired the film documentary and the play “WHY HISTORY MATTERS: the Choctaw Project” in October 2005. Subsequently, the program won several distinguished awards:

  • May 2006 – Aurora Awards' "Platinum Best of Show" - the highest award for directing
  • May 2006 – Videographer Awards' "Award of Excellence for Creativity in Cinematography"
  • March 2006 – Silver Telly Award - the highest award for cultural programming
  • March 2006 – Bronze Telly Award for achievement in set design

The New York Times ran a full feature story on "A Killing in Choctaw: the Power of Forgiveness" and commented on its significance for race dialogue in America.

:: For interviews, press kits, invitations to lecture or perform his one-man play "A Killing in Choctaw," please contact Toni Beckham | 408-499-3664 | Toni @

:: To learn more of Carl Ray's fascinating story or his bi-annual Black College Tours, please visit


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Toni Beckham
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