Bernard Lafayette (When I Get Grown)

Award-winning short film shows the making of a civil rights legend

Based on interviews conducted by Clayborne Carson, "When I Get Grown" tells the story of how Bernard Lafayette became a Freedom Rider.
Bernard Lafayette (When I Get Grown)

Our colleague Clayborne Carson at the World House Project at Stanford drew our attention to the film “When I Get Grown – Reflections of a Freedom Rider,” which documents in a very beautiful way the experience of one key participant — Dr. Bernard Lafayette — in a movement that changed history. It just won Best Short Documentary at the 2022 Harlem International Film Festival.

We reached out to Clay to find out what motivated him to make this film with video producer and media curator Chris Preitauer, and he had this to say:

The film is an outgrowth of my longstanding interest in education about freedom struggles expressed through scholarly writing — “In Struggle” — and documentary filmmaking — “Eyes on the Prize.” It is based on a six-hour interview I did with a key participant in the 1961 Freedom Rides, but utilizes various narrative approaches designed to reach a diverse audience.

While this movement has been covered so very well, much of it thanks to Clay dedicating his life’s work to sharing it, the vividness of Dr. Lafayette’s recall, and his understanding of its place in the wider scheme of things, made for a hopeful, informative and inspiring experience. We particularly appreciated the way the film centered the power of nonviolent discipline.

Watch the film here.

This story was produced by Metta Center for Nonviolence

We provide educational resources on the safe and effective use of nonviolence, with the recognition that it’s not about putting the right person in power but awakening the right kind of power in people. We advance a higher image of humankind while empowering people to explore the question: How does nonviolence work, and how can I actively contribute to a happier, more peaceful society?

Waging Nonviolence partners with other organizations and publishes their work.