This documentary film is based on the Afterword of the authoritative edition of the book, Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, written by Regina Mason and published in 2008 by Oxford University Press. The Afterword, “My Long Road Back to William Grimes” reveals Regina’s long path to authenticate her ancestor’s story and the intense personal sacrifices that made editing and publishing a new edition of the Grimes narrative possible.
In the film, Regina’s path is retraced as she visits historical locations and key points of interest along her 15-year path of discovery. The film features special visual effects to create scenes during the 1800s when her ancestor, William Grimes, was enslaved in the South and endured a life of hardship as a free man in the North. This footage is blended with interviews from Regina Mason, her coeditor, Dr. William Andrews, scholars, and others who were a part of her journey.
The two stories, Regina’s personal journey and selected William Grimes re-enactments, are intertwined throughout the movie as they move toward Regina’s recovering and publishing of her ancestors original 1825 autobiography, thus fulfilling her great, great, great grandfather’s desire to get his story to a mass audience, while creating a sense of identity and profound purpose for herself.