Strong Island

Synopsis: Examining the violent death of the filmmaker's brother and the judicial system that allowed his killer to go free, this documentary interrogates murderous fear and racialized perception, and re-imagines the wreckage in catastrophe's wake, challenging us to change.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Yance Ford
Production: Netflix
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 11 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
107 min


Hello, it's Yance.

Hello, it's Demitri Jones

returning your phone call.

-Hi, Miss Jones. How are you?


I am not sure if you remember my name,

or my brother's name.

He was a homicide victim,

back in 1992, when you were with the

Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.


-His name was William Ford.

You worked on the case

with Stephen O'Brien

and Detective James Hughes.

OK, what do you want to know?

I was calling to see if you were willing

to, within, you know,

your legal restrictions,

answer some of the questions

that have been,

sort of, plaguing me

for the last 22 years.

No. I'm not going to do that.

OK. Do you mind if I ask you why?

Because as a prosecutor,

everything that

happens in the Grand Jury

is confidential.

-So I'm not going to discuss it.

-Sure. Right. No.

I'm asking about the investigation.

Yeah, no, I'm not willing

to discuss any

of my prior cases on film

with anybody.

-May I interview you by phone?


-OK, and...

-I don't want to discuss the case.

And you don't want to make any comment?

I do not want to make any comment.

-OK, Miss Jones. Thank you.


My son...

lying dead in a coffin,

with the most peaceful look on his face.

You, your sister...

And I remember thinking...

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"How are we gonna make it without him?

How will our life go on, without him?"

Even then,

I was saying,

"Wait until we get to court!

I said, "This is a young man who has never

been in trouble in his entire life.

Wait until we get to court."

So you were saying this

to yourself on the day of the funeral?

"Wait until we get to court.

This death is not going to be in vain."

I'm not surprised

that the case didn't go to trial.

I just want to know all the reasons why.

I'm not angry.

I'm also not willing to accept

that someone else gets to say

who William was.

And if you're uncomfortable

with me asking these questions,

you should probably get up and go.

All of the years that we were growing up,

if we went through a section,

or passed a section

that was predominantly white,

you ran.

That's when I started to realize

the economic difference.

OK, so these people weren't wealthy,

but their wealth was that they were white.

My father's name

was George Alexander Dunmore.

I was two when my father died.

He had a severe asthma attack.

He was taken to the hospital.

There was a White waiting room,

and a Colored waiting room,

and even though he was critically...

in respiratory difficulty,

he was made to wait.

And during that period

of time, he died.

Tell me the story of how

you met Dad. When did you meet Dad?

Well, let's not say,

"When did I meet him?"

When did I become aware of him?

What's the difference?

Because I saw him

when I was in the sixth grade,

and he was in the seventh grade.

I did not speak with him

until October of 1958.

I was a sophomore,

and he was a junior.

And... where we lived,

in Charleston, South Carolina,

we always had a Coronation Ball

at County Hall.

Your father came over.

He asked me for a dance,

and he asked me that night

if I would be his girl.

I tried to be cool,

and let a few seconds pass

before I said, "Yes!"

I didn't say yes, I said,

"Yeah, I guess so."

You know?

But I was jumping for joy inside.

Because I had loved this

man from afar

since I was in sixth grade.

We got married

July 10th, 1965.


I think that my husband...

was a gorgeous man, OK?

He was handsome.

We moved to New York.

I absolutely loved it.

We found an apartment in Brooklyn.

I enjoyed it immensely.

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    "Strong Island" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 27 Jan. 2021. <>.

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