From Enslavement to Empowerment

The Story of The St. Emma

and St. Francis Black Boarding Schools




Producer, Videographer, Editor

Melissa Knowles and I traveled to Powhatan, VA, to visit a plantation that has been transformed into a campus for two boarding schools. One was a military academy for African-American boys, known as the St. Emma Military Academy, and the other was a school for black girls, known as the St. Francis De Sales school. Decades after the closure of both institutions, tours are now conducted on the property to commemorate their history.

This short documentary is an expansion of a shorter 3 minute segment shot for the HLN sponsored series America's Backroads, highlighting people and places outside the country's major cities. We had so much material and such a compelling story to tell, it was turned into this longer piece for my personal social media. It outperformed expectations and currently has over 90 thousand views on Youtube.