Dr. Alison Mc Letchie Consults on New Documentary and is Featured on South Carolina Public Radio

Saturday, September 12, 2020

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Dr. Alison Mc Letchie, an assistant professor from SC State’s Department of Social Sciences, served as a consultant on the newly released documentary, “We Came A Long Way By Faith: Catholic Hill and St. James the Greater Catholic Church.”

1890 June 24Some of the themes included in the documentary center around the history of the community of St. James the Greater Catholic Church, issues of faith, self-determination and the importance of education.

Mc Letchie graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from South Carolina State University. She went on to attend the University of South Carolina, where she earned a master’s degree in anthropology, a certificate in museum management in 2003 and a doctorate in sociology in 2013. In 2013 she also began working with the community of St. James the Greater Catholic Church to record its story. The community is located just outside of Walterboro, South Carolina.

In 2019, Mc Letchie was approached by filmmaker, George Wingard Jr., who was interested in producing a documentary about Catholic Hill. Mc Letchie introduced Wingard to the community, and after gaining its approval, filming began.

The documentary was completed in time for the 200th-anniversary celebration of the Diocese of Roman Catholic Charleston, but concerns about COVID-19 prevented an in-person launch. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History hosted a virtual screening of the film on July 30.

Since the documentary debuted, it has earned various accolades, including an Award of Merit from the Indie Fest Film Festival and an award from Impact DOC Awards.

The documentary represents some of the academic interests of Mc Letchie’s research, which focuses on various aspects of identity formation, especially with regard to race, ethnicity and religion.

“The film adds to the story of what it means to be an African American Catholic,” Mc Letchie said. The community [St. James the Greater Catholic Church] is an example of how people of faith can thrive even when abandoned by the institutional Catholic Church, and an example of the diversity and richness of the Catholic tradition.”

Mc Letchie has also consulted on other works. Her master’s thesis on La Divina Pastora was used by husband and wife filmmakers, Sharon Syriac and Oyetayo Raymond Ojoade, in “The Madonna Murti” (2011) and their documentary, “Bottom in De Road” (2015).

To view “We Came A Long Way By Faith: Catholic Hill and St. James the Greater Catholic Church,” click here.

Mc Letchie was also recently interviewed by South Carolina Public Radio on the journey and history of Catholicism in South Carolina.

Listen to the radio interview here.

For more information, contact Dr. Alison Mc Letchie at amcletch@scsu.edu.