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Tomlinson Hill

Airs Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Chris Tomlinson meets Loreane Tomlinson.

Aired 6/18/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Chris Tomlinson, Producer,
Tomlinson Hill

Transcript

"Tomlinson Hill" is the story of America, as seen through the microcosm of a small Texas town called Marlin. The film takes its name from the former Texas slave plantation that at one time defined this region. We trace this story through the eyes of two descendants - one black - Loreane Tomlinson; and one white - Chris Tomlinson, who independently come back for very different reasons to find their crumbling community still struggling under the weight of 150 years of class separation.

Courtesy of Chris Tomlinson/Lisa Kaselak, Fosforo Films

Tomlinson Hill sign.

Courtesy of Chris Tomlinson/Lisa Kaselak, Fosforo Films

Plantations graphic from the film "Tomlinson Hill."

Courtesy of Chris Tomlinson/Lisa Kaselak, Fosforo Films

Reporter Chris Tomlinson interviews Lizzie Mae and Charles T. in Marlin, Texas.

Courtesy of Chris Tomlinson/Lisa Kaselak, Fosforo Films

Reporter Chris Tomlinson stands in front of a mural.

On the verge of economic ruin or redemption, Marlin's future success is dependent on the community truly coming together as one. In the mid-1800s just outside of Marlin, Texas, a slave plantation named Tomlinson Hill was founded by James K. Tomlinson. The establishment would have long lasting effects on the rural community.

"Tomlinson Hill" documents how the legacy of slavery in east and central Texas has created a region still divided despite the civil rights changes of the last 60 years.

Reporter Chris Tomlinson, a descendant of slave owner James K. Tomlinson, confronts the shame and guilt he feels from his ancestry and digs deeper into the real legacy of the area. He comes across Loreane Tomlinson, a descendant of slaves on Tomlinson Hill, who has returned to her hometown with a vision of civic improvement.

Says Tomlinson "After meeting Loreane, I knew I wanted the film to tell the story of my family history as well as her family history. Together, it's the story of America, as far as I'm concerned."

The documentary is a fascinating look at people trying to move on while others idly resist change. Can Marlin survive and transform not only the racial separation that exists, but the deep-rooted socio-economic divide as well?

Voices Of Marlin

On this website you will find video interviews, recent events, and historical information submitted by and for the descendants of the area slave plantations and the people of Marlin. Residents are taking part in a unique new tool that lets them tell their own history, in their own voices. Voices of Marlin is an homage to the history of Marlin, its people, its traditions, and most importantly, its future. History is still in the making, and we believe that the residents of Marlin should be the ones to tell their own stories.

Follow @cltomlinson on Twitter.

Video

Tomlinson Hill Trailer

Tomlinson Hill Trailer from Lisa Kaselak and Lee Billington on Vimeo.

Above: "Tomlinson Hill" is the story of America, as seen through the microcosm of a small Texas town called Marlin. The film takes its name from the former Texas slave plantation that at one time defined this region. We trace this story through the eyes of two descendants - one black - Loreane Tomlinson; and one white - Chris Tomlinson, who independently come back for very different reasons to find their crumbling community still struggling under the weight of 150 years of class separation.