About July '64

About the music

July ’64 features the never-before-released recording of Duke Ellington performing Night Creature with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on August 6, 1964. “The Ellington music sort of found us,” explains Chirs Christopher, producer of July ‘64. While working on another project in Washington, D.C., she and July ’64 director Carvin Eison went to the Smithsonian, where an exhibit featuring Duke Ellington had just opened up. “The exhibit featured a touring schedule from 1964 and we found that Ellington had been in Rochester just two weeks after the riots. We contacted the Eastman School of Music and they were generous enough to let us use the recording for the documentary.”

Night Creature is used courtesy of the Sibley Music Library Special Collections, University of Rochester Eastman School of Music.

Duke Ellington’s Night Creature was performed in the 1964 Arranger’s Holiday, Eastman School of Music, copyright the Eastman School of Music. Recording provided courtesy of the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. Published by G. Schirmer, Inc.

About the footage

The archival footage came from WROC, WHEC and the CBS national archive that is owned by the BBC. Excerpts from extraordinary films made by Baden Street Settlement and RG&E that show dramatically contrasting views of Rochester in the early '60s were also used. RNews contributed more contemporary footage. Special thanks to Dave Appel at WROC, Rob Vandenberg at WHEC and Gary Turner at RNews.

The documentary also includes archival photos from the University of Rochester Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, the Democrat and Chronicle and the City of Rochester. Also included are some great photographs taken by Rochester photographer Paul Hoeffler.

Interviewees featured in the documentary

Dr. Walter Cooper
Retired New York State Regent and Kodak chemist who was a leader in Rochester’s civil rights movement.

Warren Doremus
Long-time reporter for WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York, and one of the first reporters on the scene of the riot.

Robert Duffy
Current Mayor of Rochester, former Chief of Police 1988--2005. and career member of the force.

Minister Franklin Florence
Founder of FIGHT, an organization that is credit with opening up employment opportunities at Eastman Kodak Co, friend of Malcolm X and a leader in Rochester’s civil rights movement.

David F. Gantt
New York State Assemblyman and dean of the Rochester, New York delegation to the New York State legislator.

Jack Germond
National political commentator and former reporter with the Times-Union in Rochester, New York.  Germond wrote a series of articles in the early 1960s describing deteriorating conditions for Rochester’s African-American community.

Porter Homer
City Manager during the 1964 riot, now deceased.

William A. Johnson, Jr.
Mayor of the City of Rochester from 1993-2005, and Rochester’s first African-American Mayor

Frank Lamb
Mayor of Rochester in 1964, now deceased

Chuck Mangione
Grammy-award winning musician and Rochester native who grew up in the neighborhood adjacent to the riot area.

Gap Mangione
Musician and brother of Chuck Mangione

Constance Mitchell
First African-American woman elected in Rochester, New York, Supervisor of the Third Ward where the 1964 riot occurred, friend of Malcolm X and leader of Rochester’s civil rights movement.

Darryl Porter
President of “The Matadors” street gang in 1964, now Special Assistant to Mayor Duffy

Ruth Rosenberg-Naparstek
Rochester City Historian

Dr. James Turner
Professor of African Studies, Cornell University

Rev. Dr. Arthur Whitaker
Former pastor of Mt. Olivet Church in the riot area, retired professor Harvard Divinity School.


About the narrator

The film is narrated by Emmy-award winning, Oscar-nominated actor Roscoe Lee Browne. Mr. Browne launched his theatre career with the inaugural season of The New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. Since then, off and on Broadway, and in theatre festivals throughout the United States and Europe, he has appeared in plays from Shakespeare, Shaw, Genet, Brecht, Giraudoux, Kaufman, Lowell, Sartre, Albee et al, to the contemporary masters -- the Nobel laureate, Derek Walcott, the Pulitzer Prize winner, August Wilson and the MacArthur Award winner, Lee Breuer (The Gospel at Colonus). Mr. Browne has appeared in four of Mr. Walcott’s works ( Dream On Monkey Mountain, Panto, Remembrance and The Odyssey). For his performance of Makak in “Dream...”, he received the L.A. Drama Critics Award for Best Actor. He has appeared in two of Mr. Wilson’s works (Joe Turner’s Come And Gone and Two Trains Running). For his Bynum in Joe Turner...”, once again, the LA Drama Critics’ Award. For his Holloway in “Trains...”, a Tony nomination and the Helen Hayes Award for distinguished work in the theatre.

While with the Shakespeare Festival (he spent seven seasons there) Mr. Browne created and directed A Hand Is On The Gate, a chronicle and celebration of the African American experience, in poetry and song. His actors for the evening were himself, Gloria Foster, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Moses Gunn, Ellen Holly, Leon Bibb and Josephine Premice. The true stars of the evening, however, were all the unsung African American poets. The evening was hailed and moved on to Broadway and an enduring acclaim.

Mr. Browne’s extensive work in television includes the role of Frederick Douglass in Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds and guest appearances on Barney Miller (Emmy nomination), A Different World, Falcon Crest (Emmy nomination), The Cosby Show (Emmy Award), Law & Order, Seaquest, Spiderman (Emmy nomination), N.Y. Undercover and the new Cosby. Mr. Browne’s films include Wyler’s The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones (title role), Rydell’s The Cowboys (Western Heritage Award), Glenville’s The Comedians, Poitier’s Uptown Saturday Night, Hitchcock’s Topaz, Glimcher’s Mambo Kings, Miller’s Babe II: Pig, in the City and Noonan’s Oscar nominated Babe (narrator). He is also the narrator of Heyerdahl’s Oscar nominee, The Ra Expeditions and as a speaker in various symphonic works, he has appeared with the Boston Pops, L.A. Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and with the St. Louis, Pittsburgh and New Orleans Symphonies. Annually with Anthony Zerbe, he tours across the U.S. in their Behind The Broken Words.