KINSTON, NC (WITN) Residents from across Kinston joined together Monday night at the Kinston Community Center to watch the premiere of a documentary about a local legend named Issac Pope, honoring the man and sharing in his story on what would have been his 101st birthday.
The son of sharecroppers and the grandson of slaves, Pope was a decorated war veteran who served during WWII fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and was a champion of the civil rights movement locally.
The film chronicling his life was put together by Harvard Professor Paula Caplan, who shared a personal connection with Pope, as he and Caplan's father served together.
"My father was a white Jewish Officer from the North, and Sgt. Pope was his first Sgt., so when I was growing up, periodically my father would get out this picture of a bunch of men in the unit. So I had heard about him all my life," said Caplan. "This is a microcosm, a microcosm of this one mans life, and in it, we see 100 years of American history."
Dozens attended the premiere, including Kinston Mayor Don Hardy, a Veteran himself, who knew Pope personally. "I had a conversation with Isaac Pope, and he told me to keep pushing no matter what. And he worked for where I am today," said Hardy.
Unfortunately, Pope never got to see the final edit of his film, but last year on his 100th birthday, Pope did get to see a rough cut of the film while it was still in post-production.
Caplan is now working to release the film nationally and said that screenings have already been scheduled in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
Copies of the film can be purchased by contacting Paula Caplan at email@example.com.