“The Mighty Rams” fulfills a life-long dream to document the early days of racial integration in Charleston, SC, including intense racial tension, race riots and the James Island Rams High School football team that took momentous steps to end the threat of riots forever. As a result of struggling through the challenges and adversity together and with only average talent, this half black/half white team created an intense bond. This bond generated enormous team power which resulted in an undefeated season and a state championship.
Yet, those weren't the most valuable prizes. The actions of that team put a permanent end to racial rioting in the State of SC and forever changed the lives of the team members, coaches, cheerleaders, administration, other classmates and the community – becoming an important step in the greater Charleston community's journey to ultimately and finally close racial gaps.
"I'm still reeling the morning after, so to speak, from the effects of last night--reliving the medium, message, the magic, and the mighty man, who had the clear vision, foresight and sense of timing to produce and air this provocative, but sweet film, "The Mighty Rams."
Well done, my friend, and to your director, editor, photographer and supporters. Congratulations.
It was the "Crosby Rally" last night! No protesters here...no conflicts, no fights, no arrests, just applause. You deserved it. You should accrue more than 15 minutes of fame for sure.
It was certainly a "blessed" occasion for us to attend with The Coach. He appeared so happy to be there and to run into old friends and memories! Wow! Thank you for your warm graciousness in acknowledging him. Memories are certainly made of these.
The retired middle school teacher in our group, Cindy, who hails from Savannah, strongly suggested that every MIDDLE SCHOOL in the country should show the movie in their schools.
I say send it to every high school, especially as you pointed out with the violence in our country.
I wish you the best of luck. I enjoyed the format, the close up and personal interviews, the tie in with the Emanuel massacre and historical footage....all blended in so smoothly to make it a masterpiece.
Warmest regards and good luck in your pursuits. You have a winner!"
The Island Buzz
“There is not a better time in your life or that of our country for this documentary to be coming alive. It truly is a great story of team, determination and overcoming all odds. Class of 1975 James Island Rams, you made us proud. Much success in the endeavor of documenting history of the once, very racially tense high schools in the south.”
“I believe the nonsense of racial violence ended with class of 1975 - bless you guys for ending the riots at James Island High School.”
“Here's wishing you the greatest success on your project. I hope the film is a total success. Congratulations on your accomplishments." Fred - JIHS class of 1965 accomplishments." Fred - JIHS class of 1965
"I attended JIHS from the fall of 1969 until May of 1973. A student there during both of the riots. Most of my best teenage memories were watching Rams football on friday nights. I appreciate more than I can express your time and efforts in putting this together. Giving me a chance to go back to a James Island I grew up on and vividly remember." Jim Ridge
"As a little girl, Friday nights were spent going to the James Island games with my family. The stadium was always packed with people who all joined together to cheer on their Rams!! Everyone was happy and proud! Those times bring back such warm memories of community coming together with a common goal!! I can still close my eyes and remember the smell of the grass, hot dogs, and hear them clapping for the almighty Rams!!" Jane Wilkins
"Chris you did a great job speaking on the video-you could tell it was from your heart. The article in The Messenger was fantastic. I have wonderful memories from JIHS."
Debbie Owens Fennell
“The game of football is special. If everyone would follow rules of teams, we’d learn to follow rules or face discipline. The focus becomes the team, not the individual. We’d be more inter-locked and it’d be harder to separate us. Once you feel like family, if there’s a threat to family, you pull together. It all starts at home. If the parents aren’t available, then the grandparents, teachers and coaches have a larger role to play.” Coach Reid Charpia
“Coach Charpia caused us to believe in ourselves. We believed that we could accomplish whatever we set our minds to, whatever we worked for.” Bernard McDaniel
"We’ll know we're probably as far down the equality and unity path as we can go when all races start showing up at the 1100 hour on Sunday (i.e., worship together) and we don't allow racist talk when we're together with our own kind. We must face the reality that there's more work to do and call out issues when we see them, wherever we see them!” Virgil Fludd
“I was selected to be a cheerleader but could not cheer because the school needed another black cheerleader. I took it in stride and my parents did too. Sometimes you have to take one for the team. Sometimes you have to lose to win.” Patty Logan
“During that 1974 season, the community came together, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The spirit during the 1974 season was phenomenal. We experienced what each other experienced. We touched each other’s hearts. We felt love for one another – in our hearts – it wasn’t just talk.” Rose Marie Memminger
“We were a small team and had a special closeness. The seniors were exceptional leaders – they encouraged us younger guys. We were well-coached – coaches got the best out of us, they got us in condition better than anyone else. Coach Charpia was even reviewing plays with me while he taught me driver’s education. The whole school and community was behind us.” Jimmy Smith
“I had a clear approach to treating students and athletes of all colors. Just be straight with them, just be fair. As a coach, sometimes I felt like a father, a mother or just a big brother. No one was prepared for integration, including administration and teaches – they were not ‘all-in.’ Integration was a new situation for them. They had doubts and fears. We had to learn to see everyone as one.” Coach Earl Brown, Senior
“Playing James Island Ram football on Friday night was the highlight of a player’s life. I was very introverted but when I put that helmet on, I came alive and just wanted to hit someone.” Michael Manigault
“As we left the high school heading to play Clinton for the State Championship, the roads were lined with people. We weren’t going alone – the whole school and community were behind us and we felt we had to bring home the championship. And when Clinton took the field, they had so many players that they covered their half of the field. It felt like David against Goliath.” Jimmy Smith
“James Island has an amazing tradition. Tradition never graduates.” Coach Charlie Combs
“James Island was country when I was growing up. It was a tough place with big, farmer’s kids. We were expected to answer to parents, teachers and God. We said the Lord’s prayer in school. When we integrated, the blacks made us a better team – they were outstanding athletes. I drove a bus and one of my routes was Gresham Meggett. Driving my fellow black students every day shaped my perspective on blacks and whites...I didn't see color. The parents of these students were counting on me to bring their children home safely. They even brought me food daily, enough cornbread that I often had to turn it down!” Michael Veronee
“What I learned back in my high school days -- hard work, focus, dedication -- carried into the rest of my life.” Bobby Newman
“It’s all about winning. We were winners at James Island, regardless of the sport. To win in football, it takes chemistry, defense, talent and coaching. Life has rules. You have to learn about rules early in life. Learn to play by the rules and learn that if you don’t there are consequences. That’s one of the great lessons of playing sports.” Marty Crosby
In our efforts to tell this amazing story of the football team and racial tensions in the early 1970’s at James Island High School, we have received and experienced a tremendous amount of support from former and present students and faculty, members of the community, and many others.
Our goals for this short documentary are not only to make a fun film for James Island and the Charleston community. There’s much more to “The Mighty Rams” and the racial riots that occurred and we need your help getting our story in front of as many eyes as we can. Help us spread the story of “The Power of Team” and how these same experiences can be brought to our world today.