An MTSU alumnus was recently honored with a top cable television award for his documentary work for the city of Murfreesboro’s CityTV program.
MTSU alumnus Mike Browning and colleague Michael Nevills were honored in two categories — general documentary and biography — for the 39th annual Telly Awards, a national competition honoring video and television production work.
Browning, an MTSU public history graduate, and Nevills were recognized for their work on the documentary “The House Still Standing,” for which Browning served as writer and narrator and Nevills as CityTV video producer. The film highlights the work of genealogists Tim and Brenda Fredericks and Daryl Webb, whose research revealed the story of their African-American ancestor.
The documentary tells the stories of two people: Burrell Gannaway, one of Murfreesboro’s first aldermen, and King Daniel Ganaway, a descendant of a slave who became a celebrated African-American photographer.
According to a city of Murfreesboro news release, the film first aired as a special edition of “Murfreesboro Storytellers” in November 2017 and was shown again earlier this year to celebrate Black History Month. CityTV is Murfreesboro’s government channel, which can be viewed on Comcast, AT&T cable, and different social media sites such as YouTube.
The award-winning documentary can be viewed below.
“We simply wanted to present the history in a way more people in Murfreesboro and across the globe could gain a deeper appreciation for the history, the work by genealogists, and the Murfreesboro property,” said Browning, who also serves as the city’s public information officer.
“The Gannaway/Ganaway histories are compelling stories of early 19th-century America and 20th-century black migration.”
The Fredericks, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Murfreesboro native Webb first visited the Gannaway home and slave cabins in Murfreesboro in June 2016. Browning accompanied them as they visited the structures, which are still standing on property in the Barfield area south of Murfreesboro off U.S. 231.
Tedious research led them to the property after discovering that Tim’s great-grandfather, King Daniel Ganaway, descended from slaves. His family history had been silenced until the truth was uncovered.
Fredericks, who grew up identifying as white, and his African-American wife, Brenda, tell the story of how Tim’s family history was kept secret until they uncovered that his black grandfather was from Murfreesboro. Through their ancestral journey, “they have helped other relatives, black and white, discover their newfound interracial family history,” the release states.
Nevills and Browning have both had experience producing award-winning documentaries. Nevills has won awards for CityTV, and Browning has won awards for public television.
The Telly Awards was established in 1979 and honors different film and video productions, web commercials, and cable TV commercials and other great programs that are from regions from around the world. Each year, the competition attracts over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents. There are also 200 judges who are experts in advertising agencies, production companies and major television networks.