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  • Writer's pictureClennon L. King

N.J. Premiere Documentary 'A Story of Bones' 2022 Teaneck Intn'l Film Festival Event 11/17

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

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About Peggy & Annina

News Advisory Black N.J. Woman’s Expertise and Global Activism Help Drive Documentary Headlining 2022 Teaneck International Film Festival Teaneck, New Jersey Peggy King Jorde never met the late mother of New Jersey’s award-winning Isley Brothers. But she and Sallie Bernice Bell Isley share a lot in common. Both came into the world, Black and female, in segregated Albany, Georgia. Both headed north at age 15 – in Peggy’s case, to attend boarding school and college in New England and architecture school in Manhattan. Both settled with their husbands and children at addresses within blocks of each other in Englewood. And while King Jorde’s calling wasn’t music, the Isley Brothers’ 1975 hit “Fight the Power” rings true for this Black woman, committed to protecting burial grounds of enslaved Africans around the globe. “I grew up watching my parents defend their community in the Jim Crow South,” said King Jorde, 64. “Their pursuit of justice marked me and, to this day, remains my North Star.” Her journey and story help drive the narrative of the critically acclaimed documentary, ‘A Story of Bones,’ that will make its New Jersey premiere at the 2022 Teaneck International Film Festival next month. The screening will take place on Thursday, November 17th, at 7:30 p.m. at Teaneck Cinemas, 503 Cedar Lane, downtown Teaneck.

Pictured above (L) Englewood NJ resident Peggy King Jorde (R) Annina van Neel resident of St. Helena Island

Sponsored by the Bergen|Passaic Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., the evening will be followed by a discussion and talkback with King Jorde. Tickets can be purchased online starting October 10th. Directed by London-based Joseph Curran and Dominic de Vere, the 95-minute film opens on the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. That’s where Namibian-born Annina van Neel discovers crews building a road under her supervision encountered remains belonging to enslaved Africans direct from the notorious slave trading Transatlantic Middle Passage. Haunted, she scours the internet for professional and ethical guidance and finds an ally in King Jorde, who walked in her shoes 20 years before. In the early ‘90s, Peggy King Jorde was working in New York’s Mayor’s Office when she discovered construction crews had similarly encountered hundreds of African remains to make way for a new federal office building in Lower Manhattan. Clear on her commitment to the descendent community, she helped leverage a grassroots campaign before leading the memorialization effort that became America’s first African Burial Ground National Monument.

Pictured below African Burial Ground National Monument - National Park Service

The film captures the two women bonding over the internet before King Jorde makes the two-and-a-half-day journey to the island to lend her expertise. Audiences then follow van Neel stateside, where King Jorde leads her protégé on a road trip – making stops in Charleston, Montgomery, Savannah, St. Helena Island in South Carolina, and her native Albany, Georgia. The aim was to return to the auction blocks and cotton fields where enslaved Africans who survived St. Helena and the Middle Passage were separated, sold, and suffered. The film begins to culminate with the two women visiting the United Nations and New York’s African Burial Ground, where van Neel is a guest of honor at a dinner and reflects on what she has seen and learned. Peggy King Jorde’s biography underscores that she comes by her activism honestly. Her father, the late Atty. C.B. King represented scores of civil rights demonstrators during the 1961-1962 Albany Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In fact, he came to Englewood during the same campaign to lend counsel to civil rights activists protesting school desegregation in Bergen County. Aside from being an onscreen principal, King Jorde also serves as the film’s impact & consulting producer. Before the film’s 2022 release, she launched a global call to action on Facebook to preserve the African burial ground at St. Helena, still threatened by development and a less-than-responsive British leadership. To that end, she’s traveled twice to London, meeting with members of Parliament to lobby for protection and recognition of the site’s cultural significance. Closer to home, King Jorde continues to consult on multiple African burial ground preservation projects, including in Manhattan, the Bronx, Teaneck, New Milford, Newnan, Georgia, and the Caribbean Island of Sint Eustatius.

"A Story of Bones"

When: Thursday, November 17, 2022 Time: 7:30 P.M.

Where: Teaneck Cinemas, 503 Cedar Lane, downtown Teaneck N.J.

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