American Civil War Years

iMichigan Productions is a 501(c) (3) incorporated in the State of Michigan by media professionals with over 75 years of collective experience in the classroom and behind the lens. The company grew out of an independent production project by Co-founders Rodney W. Brown and Leon C. Collins. Our first production: The Michigan Experience: The American Civil War Years which aired multiple Times on PBS stations and Public Access channels throughout the Midwest to commemorate the Civil War’s Sesquicentennial (2011-2015); A Web Series, American Civil War Years was launched in 2014; plus, a companion 136-page color book of photography of Civil War re-enactors in the television program. Other productions include: The Peaceful Warrior Project which celebrates musicians who served in the military; Living History: Veterans Interviews; American Jazz Greats, a TV special and companion website; and Field Trip, a STEM (Science Technology Education Math), national pilot for PBS audiences. iMichigan Productions has engaged numerous students from Mott Community College and University of Michigan Flint as interns on our projects.

Rodney W. Brown
Rodney W. Brown is an Award-winning television producer. He is a graduate of Stanford University and earned Master's degrees in Education, English and American Culture at the University of Michigan-Flint. He has been a PBS producer in Washington D.C. and was Senior Executive Producer for University of Michigan Public Television, where he created and produced over 300 hours annually of original programming.

Brown's PBS credits include the films "One Night's Run" and "Imagination"; two
26-part series "Small Business Magazine" and "Motor Town Music Central" and one-hour specials: “American Jazz Greats,” "Jazzland" and "Blues Detroit Style.” Brown produced over 600 programs of the music performance series "AfterHours." He is the Director, Producer of "American Civil War Years" a PBS television special and Web Series. He is Producer/Director of “Field Trip,” a national pilot for PBS.

Brown is the President of iMichigan Productions, a digital consulting company. iMP creates content that is entertaining and audience building while working with aspiring young media students as a mentor as bridge to the media jobs of the 21st Century.

He is the Director of The Flint Youth Film Festival. The FYF introduces the art of filmmaking to the area’s youth to provide a venue for their storytelling talents and provides opportunities for young filmmakers to share their creative work with the public and professional.

He is the Executive Producer of Peaceful Warriors Project (PWP) which celebrates the music of US veterans, promotes Veterans Awareness and honors all Veterans who contributed to our culture. The Peaceful Warriors Project teams Jazz icons with country stars for a cross cultural appreciation of American Music at its finest that brings communities together. He is also the Executive Producer of PWP’s Living History: Veterans Interviews which shares the amazing stories of our United States Veterans on public television and public radio.

Brown teaches Media Production, Media Entrepreneurship and Film Studies at Mott Community College.

Contact Rodney at:

Leon Collins has enjoyed a multi-faceted career path, working in the corporate and nonprofit sectors domestically and internationally as an innovative executive manager, instructor, and educator with experience working in film, community radio television and T/V. He is co-founder of iMichigan Productions, a 501 (c) (3), start up educational media production company founded by media professionals who are educators.

One of his career highlights was serving as Director of Education and Leadership Programs for the Phelps Stokes Fund one of North America's oldest foundations
Leon Collins, Executive Producer
dedicated to Education for Human Development in the African Diaspora in the Americas, in Africa, indigenous communities in the Americas and other underserved and marginalized populations.

Earlier in his media career, he was Director of Telecommunications and General Manager for University of Michigan Public Television WFUM TV 28 PBS; Elected Professional Director Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Board of Directors; Executive Director of Broadcasting University of Houston PBS TV 8; Chairman of the University of Houston’s 24 member Distance Learning Taskforce; Executive in Charge of Production BB King and Friends Live at the Woodlands; and Production Consultant/Executive Producer WLII TV Lorimar Telepictures, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In his work in education, he has been assistant professor of media and communications at Antioch College Center for Social Research and Action in Baltimore, Maryland; consultant to the Washington DC secondary schools, developed a four-year curriculum and instructor for media studies at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts; and media instructor for the George Washington University Workshop for Careers in the Arts.

Leon is a management consultant specializing in supporting nonprofit, philanthropic organizations communications and marketing needs.

Contact Leon at:
Peaceful Warriors Project's Salute to Allan Barnes  |  MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
For more than 40 years, jazz man Allan Barnes has etched his place in American music history. His career which spans five decades includes an eclectic combination of music as he has played or recorded with Donald Byrd, Prince Wilson Pickett, Martha Reeves, Prince, Nina Simone Pharaoh Saunders, Grant Green, Billy Taylor, Sonny Rollins and many more.

Allan's big sound was requested on tours around the world but he was best known as one of the pioneers of jazz fusion with The Blackbyrds and their mega hit “Walking in Rhythm.” Allan also hosted the PBS series Jazzland and was recognized by the PBS series "American Jazz Greats."  In addition, he wrote music for TV series and commercials featuring Muhammad Ali, Leslie Neilson, Larry King and others. Allan starred in Rockwell Pictures 2010, "The Saxophone Player" shot on location in Detroit.
Allan Barnes, Music Producer
Allan Barnes was a gifted instrumentalist, writer and teacher whose work will stand for his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and his significant contributions to the preservation of the history of Jazz." Allan was the co-founder of Peaceful Warriors Project that celebrates the music of Veterans, Preserves their stories and connects communities with Family Veteran Story.
Wilfred Williams was born February 22, 1950, in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated a Football letterman from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, New York in 1968. He attended Howard University on a Football Scholarship, and graduated in 1972 from the School of Business and Public Affairs with a B.S. degree in Business Management. He continued his studies at the School of Communications at Howard, studying Broadcast Management. Mr. Williams worked in Public Television, and in the area of Arts Management for several years after leaving Howard.

In conjunction with his career as a renowned Producer/Director with projects like "One Night's Run" and "Spotlight on Sports," Wilfred began his acting career in
Wilfred Williaims
1985. He appeared in numerous theatrical films including: “No Way Out”, “Gardens of Stone,” “Her Alibi,” “Serial Mom,” “Dave,” and “Twelve Monkeys.” He appeared on National Television in the series “A Man called Hawk,” and “Homicide Life on the Street.” On Public Television, Wilfred Produced and co-hosted the television series “The Small Business Magazine,” which was nominated for a local EMMY in its premier season.

Wilfred performed the lead role of “Hoke” in “Driving Miss Daisy” on Stage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; as well as well as in numerous industrial training films for clients like: The US Postal Service, The Department of Defense, National Education Association, The Red Cross, United Way, The United Steelworkers , Blue Cross Blue Shield, Marriott Corporation, C&P Telephone, and many others. He has done character voices for children’s learning tapes, video comic strips, and radio spots. Wilfred was the voice for Hardees restaurants and for numerous Political candidates in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and for candidates across the US.

Contact Wilfred at: 
William Redwine
William Redwine is a graduate of the Mott Community College Media Arts and Entertainment Technology Program and owner of Redwine 36 Productions. He is a  writer and producer that has television credits on The Michigan Experience: Vietnam Veterans series and the Peaceful Warriors Project's TV programs. His goal is to write and produce quality films that helps bring the community together one film project at a time.

Contact William at:


Gary L. Price
Gary L. Price has many years of broadcast television and film experience in various directorial and producing capacities. This includes dramatic, documentary, news, major music and variety programs. Gary has a strong background in production and post-production skills. He has directed and photographed documentaries around the world.

He is a Telly Award Winning director who produced and directed BET on Jazz for 18 years. He produced and directed three additional BET network shows.

He worked at KCET (PBS), Los Angeles in the capacity of Film Director/Cameraman/Associate Director for 13 years, where he shot, directed, and edited film documentaries and worked as A.D. for studio productions including Bill Duke's "Raisin in the Sun."

He has served as an associate director for HBO productions. Gary has worked on programs that have received Emmy awards, Image Awards and National Education Association Awards. Gary Price is one of the best jazz TV directors in the world.

Contact Gary at:
Wayne Dabney is iMP’s lead photographer on The American Civil War Years (ACWY) and American Jazz Greats. It is his vast catalog of work on ACWY that generated the idea for this book to complement our broadcast and online elements of this Michigan history project.

Dabney is a U. S. Army Veteran, a former University of Michigan radio DJ, former Ann Arbor Community Access Television/CATV/CTN producer and host, former newspaper dditor and chair of the UAW Local 735 (Hydramatic /Powertrain) Media Committee (The Communicator - UAW Local 735's 20k monthly circulation- which later became an award winning member of the UAW’s Local Union Press Association (LUPA).
Wayne Dabney
He has shot for the Women’s Center of S.E. Michigan, the University of Michigan - Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), Sandy Sanders' Camps of Champions Summer Basketball Camp, and The I.B.P.O.E. of W., Washtenaw Community College (auto body program), Washtenaw United Way, Special Olympics, U of M Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations, Alzheimer Association of Michigan - Great Lakes Chapter, the First Annual Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Celebrity Golf Outing, Hope Clinic and many.

His photos have been published in many publications, on DVD and on web sites including Wikipedia. His efforts have earned him several prestigious awards including the Eastern Michigan University publication Cellar Roots, and the 2008 McKenny Award for his photograph Nearly Deserted.

Dabney was instrumental in the founding of the non-profit Organization For Cultural Arts Programming (OCAP) in the 1980’s, to provide other non-profit organizations with low cost video production services. That concept continues at CTN Community Television Network, Ann Arbor.

He is currently a mentor to several young and a couple of not so young amateur photographers and is an advisor to Professional Photographers and Associates LLC.

Contact Wayne at: 


Justin Brown is a cameraman, director and editor for American Civil War Years:The Michigan Experience and American Jazz Greats. He also has experience as a cameraman for projects such as the documentary Blues: Detroit Style and has worked as an associate producer on multiple PBS projects.

A media studies and communications graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint, Justin is also involved in theatre, having worked technical positions at the nationally recognized professional Flint Youth Theatre in 26 main stage shows as well as serving on the theatre’s Improv Squad. When he’s not working behind the scenes for iMichigan Productions, he enjoys writing and producing short sketches and hopes to make his career in the media.

Contact Justin at:

Justin Brown
Michael J. Thorp is a long time broadcaster, writer and storyteller with a great interest in history. He was a television news anchor/reporter, and producer at WJRT-TV12 and he was the host and creator of, ‘The Homepage Magazine” on Michigan Public Television. He has written, produced, directed and appeared on numerous radio and television commercials, has appeared on film and was nominated for an EMMY last year as host of “The Michigan Experience-the American Civil War Years.”.

He was the creator, host, writer and producer of “The Huckleberry Radio Hour” a live radio variety show broadcast from the Genesee County Park’s Colwell Opera House at Crossroads Village. It ran for 4 years and won 2 EMMYS.
Michael J. Thorp
Michael has written many articles and published 2 books, “The Great, Great Lakes Trivia Test”, the culmination of years of collecting interesting facts about the Great Lakes states, and a children’s book, “The Legend of the Abominable Huckleberry, or, the practically true story of how the Huckleberry Railroad got its name.”

An active Scout leader; Michael is an Eagle Scout and Vice President of the new statewide, Michigan Crossroads Council of the Boy Scouts. He spent 18 years as a member of the Goodrich Board of Education, serving as President and Vice President, is President of the Mott Community College Alumni Society, is Vice Chair of the Flint Human Relations Commission, and past Chairman of the Flint Convention & Visitors Bureau.

He was born and raised in Flint and Davison Michigan and graduated from Davison High School. He also attended Mott Community College and has a degree in history from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Contact Michael at:

With Great Respect and Loving Memory
Gary Ewell, Director
Gary Ewell was an award winning producer, director, and photojournalist who devoted his life and career to mid-Michigan. He joined WFUM-PBS Flint in 1984 after serving in the Marines including a tour of Vietnam from 1970-71.

By 1986, he received his first EMMY nomination for Vietnam documentary “Welcome Home,” which he wrote and co-produced. In 1992, he graduated from Mott Community College with degrees in general studies and photography. That same year, he received the Photographer of the Year award from the college. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Michigan-Flint in natural resource planning in 2000.

In 1987, Ewell became the head of On Air Promotions at WFUM and began training students in master control, videography, editing and various production techniques. His former students work throughout the state in at notable television stations. He worked with and trained over 100 students in 15 years guaranteeing students the best training they could get.

His awards include multiple Michigan Association of Broadcasters Awards for short documentary, two Associated Press awards for reporting, and eight EMMY nominations and four EMMY wins for his writing. He also won a National Writing Award from the Outdoor Writers Association of America for Broadcast Writing of the “Great Lakes Outdoors Special.”

His work also includes photojournalism for WEYI and WJRT in Flint as well as WKAR in East Lansing.

Gary Ewell
Tom Merritt

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