Descendant, which screened at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is available now on Netflix.
Descendant is a film about the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today. The feature documentary Descendant, co-written and co-produced by Kern Jackson, won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision at the Sundance Film Festival.
Dr. Kern Michael Jackson is a folklorist with an extensive academic career in ethnography, oral history, material culture and literary folkloristics who holds a doctorate in Folklore from Indiana University. He is currently the director of the African American Studies program at the University of South Alabama. Previously, he was curator of minority history for The Museum of Mobile, AL, and the project coordinator for the City of Mobile’s Tri-centennial Celebration Video Oral History Project. He taught for two years in the District of Columbia Public School System. Dr. Jackson served as a historian on the documentary The Order of Myths, directed by Margaret Brown. He has appeared in multiple episodes of an Alabama Public Television Series, Alabama Journey Proud. In 2020, he was part of Alabama Black Belt Blues, a documentary about Alabama’s blues music tradition, centered in its fertile Black Belt region. Dr. Jackson is a graduate of the University of Virginia, with a degree in English Literature and African-American Studies. He has a master’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in African-American Studies.
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