Filmmaker LAWRENCE E. WALKER has spent seven years collecting historic photographs, visiting African-American historic sites in New Jersey and neighboring states, and researching Journey to Freedom: The African-American Experience in New Jersey, 1638-1931, a project which includes a book, an educational CD-Rom and an inspirational music CD. Lawrence is President of Bull’s Eye Production, Inc. in Somerset, NJ. He has worked as a free-lance cameraman and editor for NBC, CBS, News 12 and TKR Cable Company, and worked on the PBS documentaries Paul Robeson: a Commentary, To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race, and The Life of Paul Robeson. A graduate of Kean University, he lives in Hillsborough.
Lawrence E. Walker, was born on October 27, 1952 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He spent most of his adolescence years in the township of Elizabeth, NJ where he was raised and nurtured by his loving mother Ida Clyde Walker. Growing up, he kept himself out of the hard knock street life by developing a love for the game of basketball and running track & field. His mother also kept him grounded in church and faith by singing and playing the piano which he loved.
Lawrence knew the only way out of the negative community environment that he loved growing up in, would be to go off to college. Two of his key turning points in his life then , were: his mother telling him when he went off to college, “Remember what you are going to college for and what you are there for . Stay focused on your studies, and make me proud.” Secondly, his English teacher told him at the end of his class in the summer of 1972, “Lawrence you may not be the smartest person in class, but what you have is determination, a drive about life, and what you want in life. That will give you your dreams in life.”
In his four years at Kean University, Lawrence demonstrated leadership skills in his classes, on the basketball court and in track and field. In 1976, he graduate from Kean University in Union, New Jersey with a BA degree in communication. Thereafter, Lawrence started his TV/Film Production career at CBS Broadcasting Network in New York City. He worked in the Video Tape Library Department for about eight and a half years, as the lead person in that department. That opportunity opened up another job with a film company in New York City, and then he moved to TKR Cable in Elizabeth, New Jersey working as a camera operator & video tape operator in field/studio work. His work in the T.V. Production field involved shooting and producing news , field/studio & news editing, and putting together content for the evening news.
In 1995, Lawrence partnered with Renardo Mack and founded a production company called Bull’s-Eye Production Inc., and the Lawrence E. Walker Foundation, Inc., which would develop documentaries for Cable T.V & Network T.V. They produced two award winning projects titled: “Serve My Country, To Serve My Race”, and “Here I Stand Determine.” In 1996, Lawrence had the opportunity to work with a brand new 12 hour Cable News Network called News 12, Edison, New Jersey, editing news before it was broadcast.
In 1997 he was awarded an Army Person of the Year Award in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for his research on the history of black women who served during World War II. He documented over 50 years of history being lost in 2-3 newspaper publications. In 2000 he started working on a 6-hour documentary on Slavery and the Underground Railroad in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York between 1600 to 1800’s. He spent seven and a half years gathering research data consisting of over 3000 documents and over 16,000 digital photographs, filming over 30 historian, and reenacting the (colonial period) Revolutionary War and Civil War times. This kind of work has never been done before within the states of New Jersery, Pennsyvlania, and New York. As part of this historical project, Lawrence also interviewed 160 African-Americans males and female veterans of World War II and the Korean War. Lawrence’s long term goal is to take both these collections and put them in a museum, university or community, school or university libraries, accessible globally.
Renardo Mackwas born on March 3rd 1965 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He spent most of his adolescence years in the town of Linden, where he was raised and nurtured by his loving parents. Growing up, he kept himself out of the hard knock street life by developing a love for the game of basketball. A key turning point for Renardo was when his adopted brother and friend, Kevin Brown was unfortunately murdered due to the climate of inner city violence. Renardo struggled with ways to turn such a great loss into a gain. In time his retaliation would not be evident in the streets but in the classroom and sports..
Excelling in education his freshman year of high school he received an academic award for maintaining an A average in math. One of his proudest moment came in his junior year when he scored the game winning basket in the state tournament semi-finals. In his senior year at Linden High School he was named co-captain of his high school top rank basketball team an average 14 points per game and 5 assist as the starting point guard. He was awarded a full scholarship to attend Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT after graduating.
In his four years at the University, Renardo demonstrated leadership skills on the court and in his major study of Television and Radio communications. He was featured on an NBC affiliate news channel as a contest finalist for producing a community P.S.A. He graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 1987 with a BA degree in communications.
In 1988, Renardo Mack started his TV/Film production career at a cable company in Warren NJ. His diligent work ethics and devotion granted him a few ACE award nominations. Renardo's experience helped mature his creative skills and in 1991 he was offered a position with the New Jersey Sport and Exposition Authority as a video coordinator. He managed the day to day operations of the video matrix board presentations and also facilitated filming and video sessions of assigned TV crews, interacting with some of NFL greats from the New York Giants and the Jets.
In 1994 he was drafted by the National Basketball Association film entertainment department were he produced high quality programs for a variety of associated networks. A producer on the Emmy award winning Show "Inside Stuff", his innovative ideas and talents at the NBA proved to be exceptional, garnering him a Gracie and Telly award.
His career has afforded him opportunities to work with some of the worlds most talented professional athletes and celebrities. With over 20 years’ experience in television broadcasting (producer, editing, show development, technical support, etc.), Renardo now serve as an executive board member on the Lawrence E. Walker foundation. A foundation dedicated to documenting African American history using multimedia tools to educate and enrich parents, students and teachers while preserving the vital legacy of a great race. He is also President of Bull's-Eye Media LLC, a consultant for USL Urban SociaLites Network, Consulting Producer for Maxsavnil.com productions and Associate Director of B.E.S.T Youth Club, “The New Home of ATHELITE sports and family fitness center. His long term goal is to open a Multimedia Academy to empower teens and young adults alike to create, write, produce, film, direct, manage and market not just a career path in the field of television but in life.
GAIL HUNTER taught for twenty-nine years at Rowan University were he also chaired the History department. Before his tragic death in an automobile accident in 2003, the late Dr. Hunter researched and wrote the first draft of Journey to Freedom: The African-American Experience in New Jersey, 1638-1931. The American Federation of Teachers chapter at Rowan established the Gary Hunter Excellence in Mentoring Award to honor the memory of this dedicated teacher. Dr. Hunter earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan, where he wrote a dissertation entitled “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work”: Black Economic Boycotts During The Depression. He also taught at the University of Michigan, Fisk University, the University of Calabar in Nigeria, and served on the New Jersey State Historical Records Advisory Board.
RANDALL O. WESTBROOK, co-author of Journey to Freedom: The African-American Experience in New Jersey, 1638-1931, is an Instructor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ,and serves as Coordinator of the Community College Partnership at Raritan Valley Community College in Somerville, NJ. An intellectual historian, Professor Westbrook recently completed a doctoral dissertation on W.E.B. DuBois. He serves on the advisory board of the Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice and was a featured historian on the award-winning PBS documentary American Masters Series: “Paul Robeson Here I Stand.” A graduate of Livingstone College in North Carolina, he earned his Master’s degree and Ph.D. in history at Rutgers University.