Raised/Razed dives deep into Charlottesville, VA’s oldest African American neighborhood, charting the lives of residents as they faced racially discriminatory policies and a city government that saw them as the only thing between it and progress. Learn the hard truths of the federal Urban Renewal program, and the broader history of its effect in Durham, NC and other communities across America.
Lorenzo Dickerson is a filmmaker/photographer and founder of Maupintown Media with documentary films that focuses on sharing stories of African-American history and culture in Virginia. His own Maupintown Film Festival is held annually at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A native of Charlottesville/Albemarle, Lorenzo earned a BBA in business management and MBA in marketing from Strayer University and got started as a filmmaker sharing the stories of his own family, including being enslaved at Castle Hill plantation, their participation in the Great Migration, attending an historic Rosenwald School, and desegregating Albemarle County Public Schools.
His dedication to community work in the local area was awarded with the 2019 Community Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Charlottesville. Lorenzo now serves on the board of directors at Charlottesville's Paramount Theater, Preservation Piedmont as well as VPM’s Community Advisory Board.
Jordy Yager is a journalist based in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va. where he currently serves as the Digital Humanities Fellow at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. There, he helped launch the African American Oral History Project, as well as the Mapping Cville and Mapping Albemarle projects, the region’s first comprehensive mapping of every property record containing a racial covenant.
His journalism has appeared in local publications such as Vinegar Hill Magazine and Charlottesville Tomorrow, and national outlets such as NPR and The New Yorker. It has won multiple first place awards, including Best in Show, from the Virginia Press Association, the Virginia Association of Broadcasters, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Randall Ricardo Taylor Jr’s experience in storytelling began at The College of William and Mary, where he attained his BA in Literary and Cultural Studies: Film. Upon graduating, Randall continued at William and Mary, consulting and teaching students and faculty ways to enhance learning and teaching experiences through the use of multimedia tools, including equipment and software training.
Randall has dedicated his career to storytelling in various capacities as a cinematographer, producer, photographer, and editor. Some of Randall’s projects have included work with PBS, National Geographic, Vogue Arabia, Essence Magazine, Kaiser Family Foundation, Discovery, Martha’s Table in DC, Bloomberg, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and Virginia Public Media. Randall’s versatility is exemplified through his diverse body of work, which includes television, branding, educational material, and documentary films. Storytelling has taken him to all parts of the United States as well as Kenya, Guatemala, India, Pakistan, France, and the U.K.
Metta Bastet is an Emmy winning producer for her work at VPM PBS. She has over 15 years of professional experience in television—shooting, editing and producing nearly 100 stories from pre to post production. She has played the role of co-producer, director, cinematographer, consultant, and teacher, instructing the fundamentals of filmmaking.
Craig Shields is an experienced video producer with over 18 years in the video industry and owner of Nu Era Productions LLC, a turnkey video solutions company he started in January 2018. Craig is a native of Virginia, a long time Richmonder and graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Communication Arts and Design program. Recently, he served two years on the Opinions Community Advisory Board for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
As a producer, he’s traveled across the country hearing and telling the stories of the voiceless for the cause of social justice. His combined years of experience in graphic design, motion graphics, video editing and others allowed him to form a company trusted with important topics and projects such as documentaries, commercials and the interviews of now President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director.
Ivan is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music. Currently, Ivan serves as the Student Safety Coach at the Historic Burley Middle School while maintaining an active performance and production schedule. Earlier this year, Ivan released his first single entitled "I'll Take You Home".
Ivan also serves as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.
Raised/Razed is a documentary feature film about the lasting effects of the federally-backed and locally-executed Urban Renewal program, through the lens of Vinegar Hill, a large African American neighborhood in the heart of Charlottesville, Virginia, that for 100 years thrived as the center of business, education, religious, and cultural life, until it — like hundreds of Black communities across America — was destroyed.
Raised/Razed was written and directed by filmmaker Lorenzo Dickerson and journalist Jordy Yager who, after two years of extensive research, have woven original audio interviews of former Vinegar Hill residents from the early 1980s with modern-day interviews from their descendants, to bring the neighborhood back to life as it existed at its height and to take viewers into the homes, classrooms, and businesses of community members.
The film closely unpacks exactly how urban renewal operated, and the racist legacies it left behind by highlighting the program's broad stroke of displacing African Americans in small towns and large cities across America. Raised/Razed draws the connection between Charlottesville’s Vinegar Hill neighborhood and Durham, North Carolina’s Hayti neighborhood, which was also destroyed, to show how Urban Renewal generationally transformed the lives of people across the country.
Raised/Razed leaves us with the question of repair and what can be done to reckon with this painful history.