Tomlinson Hill takes a personal look at race in Central Texas

Tomlinson Hill

KLRU presents a new documentary on a seldom-told part of Texas history. Airing on June 19th at 9 pm and June 24 at 10 pm, 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. Tomlinson Hill is one of several programs KLRU is presenting in honor of Juneteenth.

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. In this powerful documentary, 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. Featuring NFL player LaDainian Tomlinson and others whose families have a long history in the area, Tomlinson Hill takes a fascinating look at people trying to move on while others idly resist change.

The seeds for the documentary began when Chris Tomlinson met Loreane Tomlinson, a descendant of slaves on Tomlinson Hill, who returned to her hometown with a vision of civic improvement. “After meeting Loreane, I knew I wanted the film to tell the story of my family history as well as her family history,” said Chris Tomlinson.  ”Together, it’s the story of America, as far as I’m concerned.”

The film was produced by Lisa Kaselak of Fosforo Films. Funding is provided in part through a grant from Humanities Texas: the state affiliate of the NEH, Southern Methodist University Research Council, Meadows Foundation and Dallas Women in Film. The film is part of the Voices of Marlin Living Stories of a Texas Town project find out more at voicesofmarlin.com.