Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Q&A with those who were there in 1970

Editor's Note
An Emmy Award-winning documentary about the 1970 Marshall University football plane crash debuted to rave reviews in the year 2000. No doubt "Ashes to Glory" inspired viewers. But for many people like MU graduate Angela Dodson, it would be years after the documentary’s release before they could muster up the willingness to watch a film that  brought back so many painful memories.

Dodson, founder and CEO of Editorsoncall LLC, was a sophomore journalism major at the time of the tragedy. Dodson is the author of "Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought For Freedom at the Ballot Box" (published 2017 by Center Street).

Angela Dodson
 Q: What prompted you to finally sit down and to watch Ashes to Glory
A: I felt I needed to see it for background and context to write a story on you and November Ever After ((click here for article in DIVERSE Magazine). By the time I watched it, I had already read your book, so those wounds had already been opened up. The documentary couldn’t hurt much.  
Q: What were your thoughts after you finished watching it? 
A: I realized what a profound and shocking experience we had lived through. I always thought so, but time had dulled the senses and this helped bring it back. Your book reflects more of my own experience of the event.
Q: What else did you discover?
A: The documentary taught me more about other people’s particular experiences and circumstances and brought me up to date on some people I had wondered about, like the two cheerleaders whose parents were killed, leaving them to raise younger brothers and sisters. One of the cheerleaders was a journalism major with us, and I always wanted to know how the family coped. 
Q: Did the documentary deliver any surprises?

A: I enjoyed learning, for instance, about the family that owned Marco, the live baby buffalo mascot. (I was at the game the day he broke loose on the football field.) Partly because I was in the local media after college, I also saw news people I knew in the documentary commenting on the events, and I enjoyed that. 

Q: Final thoughts?

A: To paraphrase what my roommate, Murrial Jarrett, said after reading your book, I was 19 years old again and the events were fresh. It was glad to see some of the players “alive” again on the screen, and I could remember some of them as if the last time I had seen them was yesterday. Others were guys I had kind of forgotten or didn’t know as well, and the documentary freshened my memories of them.

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