When filmmaker Clay Stafford set out to make a simple film about one woman’s efforts to change the world one child at a time, he had no idea the reception it would receive. Set to premiere at a Franklin, Tennessee theater on April 18, 2013 in the hometown where the story takes place, the theater sold out nearly immediately. Another screening was scheduled. And now another. WAKM says it is “a thrilling and inspirational story.” Williamson Herald calls it “harrowing.” The Tennessean declares it “miraculous.”
“One of the Miracles” is the personal story of Inge Meyring Smith, a Holocaust survivor and American Civil Rights early–education pioneer who became the light of learning for thousands of children in the American South. She survived yellow benches, the Nazis who killed her family, American prejudice, the Ku Klux Klan, and the march for racial equality.
During the German Holocaust, Inge’s Jewish family barely escaped with their lives. Having only $15 in the family’s pocket when they arrived in the U.S., Inge’s family swore to survive. She moved to Tennessee. She had barely lived through yellow benches in Germany and what she saw in the South was segregated water fountains. “It was ignorance more than prejudice,” she said, but she had seen from the extermination of her own family where prejudice and ignorance unchecked could lead. Hand–picked by the Kennedy/Johnson administration to help them develop a new national preschool education program called Head Start, Smith – a woman and a Jew – went South at peril again to her own life. Through her international efforts via independent school associations, out of her passion to reach children in unreachable parts of the U.S. as well as at her own backdoor, untold thousands of children have been inspired to learn through her efforts and those she has influenced over the past 70 years.
What’s going to happen next with the film? Stafford doesn’t know. “We’ve been humbled at the response. To us, it was clearly a story that needed to be told and recorded, but we never could have anticipated the response. As a result, we’ve had interest from several television distributors, but no final decision has yet been made.” Like Inge, this film may have a life of its own. For more on this project please go to http://www.oneofthemiracles.com.