A short video of LaDainian and I on Tomlinson Hill is now available. This is an outtake from the April 2013 interview we did when NFL Films asked us to show them around the old slave plantation for “A Football Life: LaDainian Tomlinson.”
LaDainian had told me about his life and what he’d been taught about his family history in an earlier interview for the book, but this was the first time I had a chance to tell him what I had learned from my research. The film’s director, James Weiner, decided to make LaDainian’s discovery of his ancestors’ courage and leadership the overarching narrative of the film.
This clip captures us standing outside his grandmother’s dilapidated house on Tomlinson Hill on a cold, rainy day as I tell him about his great, great, great grandfather Milo who first took the Tomlinson name upon emancipation, and then about Milo’s grandson Vincent, who was a deacon, a mason and the unofficial mayor of Tomlinson Hill until his death in 1972.
LaDainian was born after his grandfather Vincent had died, so he didn’t know any of these stories. This is one of the most satisfying parts of writing the book and making the film is letting people know about their history.
As we prepare for the book launch, look for more videos from the interviews we conducted for the film and book. All of them are compiled on the interactive site, Voice of Marlin, and will be on file at the Baylor Institute for Oral History.