KING OF THE UNDERGROUND
THE HERO: JERMAIN LOGUEN
He stole his master’s finest horse and fled slavery in Tennessee.
He became one of the leading Abolitionists of the 19th century.
He helped more than 1500 runaways find freedom along the Underground Railroad.
He led thousands of citizens in protest against the Federal Marshals who captured a fugitive in his city … and helped bust that slave out and get him to freedom.
KING OF THE UNDERGROUND is the true story of a man who led a movement and inspired a community to come together … thousands of people … Blacks and whites from every station who refused to let one of their own be thrown back into chains. They stormed a government building to save a human being from suffering. They fought a battle against tyranny and won.
KING OF THE UNDERGROUND is based on Rev. Jermain Loguen's slave narrative, first published in 1859. The screenplay follows Jermain's journey - his brutal upbringing, his daring escape from slavery, his transformation into an educated and passionate religious leader, and his lifelong fight for liberty. The story culminates in one of the defining moments of the anti-slavery movement: The Jerry Rescue in Syracuse, NY, one of the most significant acts of civil disobedience against the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
“King of the Underground is a powerful, spiritual, inspirational story of freedom, struggle, and hope.”
“King of the Underground is an impressive piece of work containing a strong lead character, a detailed story world and several intense moments. The story world is gritty and believable, the characters are well developed and the narrative generates constant tension.”
“This is a gripping historical drama of a quest for freedom, and Jermain Loguen, once known as Jarm Logue, refuses to give the slavers the satisfaction of buying his freedom from them, and helps many other enslaved people escape to safety. This story deftly employs time jumps and multiple narrative threads that come back to showcase a story that also taps into the historical context of the Fugitive Slave Act and the dangers that runaway slaves might still face even once they flee north. Overall, “King of the Underground” is a captivating story drawn from history and rich with emotion.”
“The writing is poetic, filled with dynamic action paragraphs and a strong sense of voice. There are vibrant visuals to immerse us in the historical setting, and blazing action sequences filled with potent descriptions to capture the intensity. The character introductions are effective, and there is strong sensory detail.”
“In terms of storytelling, setting, dialogue, character, we get the sense that this is a very skilled, professional writer tackling a complex story. This movie very easily answers the question of what it has to say and why it deserves to get made now.”
JEFFREY M. DAVIS
Despite having lived in Syracuse for six years while in college, Jeffrey did not know about Jermain Loguen or the Jerry Rescue or that his 3rd great-grandfather, Samuel Joseph May, was another leader of the Underground Railroad in Syracuse as well as a key organizer of the Jerry Rescue. After learning of Sam May's relationship to the abolitionist cause, he dug deeper into the sectional conflicts in the United States leading up to the Civil War. Jermain Loguen's struggles and triumphs moved him deeply and inspired him to shape his autobiography into the KING OF THE UNDERGROUND screenplay.
Jeffrey has 35 years of experience in the live events industry, serving as creative director and writer with clients spanning a broad range of industries: Broadcast Television, Tech, Retail, Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Products, Automotive, Banking, and more.
In addition to scripting for hundreds of Fortune 500 executives, he has written for actors Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, author and television host James Burke, Saturday Night Live alums David Spade, Kevin Nealon and Dennis Miller, news anchors Brian Williams, Soledad O’Brien and Gabriela Frias, ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, comedians Larry Miller, Stephen Colbert, Wali Collins, Wayne Cotter, George Wallace, Caroline Rhea, and others.
Jeffrey has incorporated his love of music into many professional projects, working closely with such artists as Grammy winning pianist Michel Camilo and the corps-style drum band “Hip Pickles”. He has also interviewed many jazz musicians, record producers and music executives for documentaries and EPKs. Two of his original plays have been staged at The Schoolhouse Theater in Croton Falls, NY.
Jeffrey has a B.S. in Television, Radio & Film Production from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, where he was also a radio personality and Broadcast Director at WAER FM-88. He lives with his family in Westchester County, N.Y.
Jermain Loguen/Jerry Rescue Info
The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman: A Narrative of Real Life by Jermain Wesley Loguen
The Jerry Rescue: The Fugitive Slave Law, Northern Rights, and the American Sectional Crisis - Angela F. Murphy
Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad by Fergus Bordewich