The story of William and Ellen Craft

One December morning in 1848, William and Ellen Craft, an enslaved couple from Macon, Georgia, risked everything to live free. From Macon to Savannah, Charleston to Boston, they faced many dangers and the never-ending fear of discovery. Their story demonstrates courage, inventiveness, and determination in the relentless pursuit of what should have been theirs from birth: liberty.

In the SCAD-produced documentary A Thousand Miles and Counting, William and Ellen Craft's daring escape from slavery is retold by descendants of the Craft family — Gail DeCosta, Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely, and Vicki Davis Williams — along with Dr. Walter O. Evans, a member of the Ruskin Society and benefactor of the SCAD Museum of Art's Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, and Joël Díaz, director of the museum's Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies.

Along their journey, the Crafts passed through the Central of Georgia Railway depot — the very place where the SCAD Museum of Art stands today. As part of SCAD deFINE ART 2016, SCAD honored the Crafts and their incredible story by commissioning and installing a commemorative bronze medallion — designed by SCAD graduate and foundation studies professor Andrew MacDonald (SCAD M.F.A., illustration, 2014) — in the museum's lobby.

Dr. Walter O. Evans originally shared the story of the Crafts with SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace during the SCAD Museum of Art's expansion in 2011. Evans added, "This acknowledgment by SCAD — recognizing the passage of the Crafts through this place that today stands as an educational and cultural junction of the highest order — is a perfect illustration of how SCAD rises to every occasion, taking care to celebrate narratives both well-known and lesser known so that we all might share in the universality of the human experience."

Film credits

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula Wallace
SCAD President and Founder

NARRATED BY
Carl Crudup

CAST
Gail DeCosta
Joël Díaz
Dr. Walter O. Evans
Peggy Trotter Dammond Preacely
Vicki Davis Williams

Show all

DIRECTED BY
Clay Haskell (SCAD B.F.A., film and television, 2005)

WRITTEN BY
Frank Peluso Jr.

BASED ON
Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom
by William and Ellen Craft

PRODUCERS
Glenn Wallace (SCAD chief operating officer; SCAD B.F.A., interior design, 1996)
Eric Breen (SCAD B.F.A., film and television, 1997)
Walker Dalton
McKenzie Lynah (SCAD M.A., art history, 2018; SCAD M.A., arts administration, 2014)
Sony Agrawal (SCAD M.F.A., motion media design, 2005; SCAD B.F.A., graphic design, 1996)
Frank Peluso Jr.

EDITORS
Eva Purnomo (SCAD M.F.A., film and television, 2003)
Tom Farber
Sisi Yang (SCAD M.A., film and television, 2012)

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Keri Brooks (SCAD M.A. fashion)

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Paula Wallace, SCAD President and Founder

AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Shawn Stephens

CAMERA OPERATORS
Kevin Deloach (SCAD M.F.A., film and television, 2014)
Josh Falkum (SCAD B.F.A., film and television, 2014)
Luc Walpoth

SOUND
Antwain Ross
Daniel Jeffery

DIT
Isaac Fisher

HAIR & MAKEUP
Naomi Hannon
Amber Currie Hamilton

COLORIST
Sisi Yang (SCAD M.A., film and television, 2012)

GRAPHIC ARTISTS
Andres Mendez (SCAD M.F.A., animation, 2008)
Mariel Morris

VO ENGINEER
Patrick Giraudi

PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVIST
Emily Johnston

PHOTOGRAPHY RETOUCHERS
Jarred Joly
Scott Newman (SCAD B.F.A., film and television, 2001; SCAD B.F.A., illustration, 2001)

SPECIAL THANKS
The City of Savannah
SCAD Museum of Art
Julia-Ellen Craft Davis
Kayelynn Craft Day-Lyons
Kari Herrin
Erina Tandy
Theresa Gaffney
Chris Miller
Aaisha Haykal
Avery Research Center, College of Charleston
Bethesda Academy
Richard, Lillian, and Jackson Bohannon
Richard Salomon
Michael, Kati, Trey, and Hutton Morris
Getty Images
Virtualmix Inc.

PRESENTED BY SCAD
© 2021 Savannah College of Art and Design
All rights reserved.

Download The Crafts curriculum guide

The SCAD Museum of Art offers a unique experience for study and discovery. Educational curriculum guides provide teachers and students in grades 6-12 material for learning opportunities at the museum and the Walter O. Evans Center.

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Learn more about the Crafts

Through interdisciplinary public programs, the SCAD Museum of Art’s Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies celebrates the imaginative breadth and expressive legacy of African American art and literature. 

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