Throughout history and in the classroom, the role and contributions of African Americans in textbook history courses can be overlooked. Archives are harder to find, lineage is harder to trace and achievements go unnoticed.
Troy University graduate Theo Moore started his short film production company, Hiztorical Vision Productions, as a solution to this problem.
Moore began his journey at TROY in 2007. He was the first to graduate high school out of his family and a first-generation college student.
“Growing up in a less fortunate area of Anniston, I was always curious,” Moore said. “I would always ask questions about my past.
“The only subject that would give me answers to my questions was history. Why is this part of town predominately black? Why am I followed around when I go to the store? Things like that.”
His questions led him to focusing on history in both his undergraduate and graduate programs.
“For a while, I was the only black male that majored in history,” Moore said. “With that in mind, there were challenges with connecting to some of the historical topics due to cultural differences.
“However, I do not regret my experience. Because of the History Department at Troy University, I am able to hold intellectual conversations with professionals.”
One of those professors in the history department was Joe McCall, who was both an advisor and mentor to Moore’s studies.
Before Moore even began his production company, McCall wrote a letter about his persistence and passion for history in 2012.
“He also displays passion in his academic efforts, often infusing his work with a willingness to find a sense of ‘place’ and ‘community’ in his scholarly pursuits,” McCall said. “He did a presentation in my Alabama History class and took the time and effort to include his own photographs about the project, which involved driving more than three hours to shoot the exact shots he needed rather than relying on the internet for images.”
Moore’s dedication to finding out the truths of the past is what has led him to success in his production company. He believes African American history has a place in every history lesson.
“Black history is American history, and everyone should have the opportunity to learn it regardless of demographic,” Moore said.
Moore credits his background in the classroom to his love for being an educator.
“I learned a lot from history, but a lot of my teachers at Anniston High School really kept it real with us and gave us the reality of our situation,” Moore said. “As a child living in the projects, I witnessed violence, drug use and neglection.
“All I thought about was my coaches and teachers who impacted me in my life, and I want to be like that for other people. I wanted to follow in their footsteps and speak life into other people that had the upbringing that I went through.”
Moore currently spends his time at Tuskegee University being that influence on younger college students.
“There’s something to be said about the history that we don’t get the opportunity to learn about,” Moore said. “Ironically, it’s the history that could motivate all people if they actually knew it existed.
“I asked the question, ‘Who makes the decisions about what our children should be learning?’”
Moore’s conquest to find the answer to his question began with Hiztorical VP. Its purpose is to bring awareness to the history that is repeatedly overlooked in history books.
Hiztorical VP has highlighted places like Lowndes County and Hobson City, and his film-making process begins with getting to know the people in the towns he’s documenting.
“A lot of the communities we choose to highlight are in desperate need of revitalization and they just want someone to listen,” Moore said. “Me and my team go to the places and we just get to know the people with no cameras.
“We spend a couple of months just talking to the community and listening to their story.”
Moore’s team attends community meetings, visits the churches and becomes an “extended family of the community,” but the process isn’t complete without hardships.
“A lot of our history is not preserved correctly or documented,” Moore said. “You have to actually go to seniors around the area and they’ll tell you about everything.”
Before the end of the year, Hiztorical VP will create resources and lesson plans to help teachers who want to bring more awareness to Black history in the classroom.
“Along with the short film documentaries, we also want to have lesson plans,” Moore said. “There are a lot of teachers who want to be culturally inclusive in classes. I want to be that resource to educators.”
Moore is currently a first-year Doctor of Philosophy student in the Integrative and Public Policy program at Tuskegee University.
Hiztorical VP’s next documentary will focus on Mobile’s Africatown, a community created by the last known illegal shipment of slaves imported into the United States.