Film makers Pete and Beverly O’Neal have amassed over 25 hours of eyewitness accounts and personal narratives of those involved in the desegregation of the park. All sides are presented-from those who were allowed in, to those who were not allowed in. Original photographs from the former News American newspaper, newly uncovered film footage and artifacts stored in garages and basements for the past 50 years provide a clear account of all the players. Exactly who were the people involved, where were they from and what was their motivation?
All the King’s Horses: The Story of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park documents the good times surrounding the park and the bad times. The last of those wonderful Baltimore amusement parks was a prize to be won-the brass ring on the carousel. But the prize would not last much longer. Bankruptcy and Hurricane Agnes were catastropic for the park. This project also recounts the end of the park and events which may have precipitated its demise.
About The Film
All the King’s Horses: The Story of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park is a documentary which chronicles the efforts of many ordinary, everyday people and their efforts to desegregate the privately owned Gwynn Oak Amusement Park during Maryland’s racially charged and turbulent civil rights era. Buried in the memories of old timers and elder statesmen are the mental images of the past the long forgotten struggles for equality for African-Americans in Maryland. The words civil rights movement all too often evoke thoughts of the deep south-Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia. But little known to most and all too true for many are the conflicts that took place right here in Maryland.
The year 1963 was a restless year throughout the state of Maryland. From Baltimore where Morgan State College students were staging protests at the Northwood Movie Theater to the bucolic Eastern Shore town of Cambridge the tides of racial unrest were rising. Blacks were not alone in their struggles.
Marching side by side and arm in arm were Whites, Jews, Blacks, priests, rabbis, ministers, businessmen, students, teachers, husbands, wives, and children. Many of these seemingly unlikely protestors were not the targets of discrimination. Yet they left their comfortable homes and took time out of their busy lives to join the struggle-to be yelled at, jeered, spit upon and even beaten. This documentary attempts to capture the essence of not only their struggle but their motivation-the why.