On a warm late spring Friday evening, the Thomasville community gathered, black and white, to see the debut of the documentary short “Can You Not See?” at the Ritz Amphitheater. 

If you haven’t seen it, it certainly is worth the investment of your time. The brainchild of Thomas County Central High School teacher and multimedia guru Randy Young and CNS’ Austin Reams, the short film explores how the city and county schools met and accomplished integration and how integral football was into making it happen relatively seamlessly.

The two gathered coaches from the time and the widow of another coach and the story is told through their eyes and voices. Their voices also were heard in a question and answer session after the film’s showing Friday evening. And there was even more ribbing between the coaches during the Q and A session.

Friday night’s event also had a showing of a CBS News clip, courtesy of the Jack Hadley Black History Museum, on Thomasville’s efforts to integrate the schools. The seven-minute clip, shot and aired in September 1970, was shown just prior to the documentary. 

Our hats are off to the folks who put together the film and the event and they are off to the men and women who worked, often outside of public view, to make integration happen and happen as smoothly as it did.

If you haven’t seen “Can You Not See?” we suggest you take the time to do so. It’s a valuable history lesson and a valuable lesson for the future as well.