Muskegon Heights is a town in Muskegon County, Michigan. For decades, the town is often portrayed negatively by many with unfair stereotype of its community members. This is their take on their stories in their own words. Tiger Pride - Continuing The Legacy, a 2022 documentary film about Muskegon Heights, watch the full movie here.
Muskegon Heights is a community that poverty has had a grip on for a long time. It's also been positioned as a "problem" far too often and blamed too quickly for things when something goes wrong. No community anywhere is perfect, but the pervasive message about Muskegon Heights has become a false narrative that so many, have fought so long and so hard against. There is a remarkably strong group of people within the City of Muskegon Heights who have not once, not ever, given up. They are residents, they are parents, they are teachers, elders, business owners and softly spoken people who go about making sure that people are supported. They are the people who bring family recipes into soul filled cooking and they are the people who get more done with less than most could even imagine. The resilience that Muskegon County is seeing on the surface is simply amazing, but that resilience is most deeply rooted in the words "Tiger Pride" because it's that inner strength and deeply held care for community that you are going to see.
We were approached by the Muskegon Heights Charter Academy System to record some members of their community talking about an "artifact" that held significance to their family. We didn't know what to expect, because an artifact can be anything from a china cabinet to a thimble that grandma had. We accepted the challenge and figured that since we'd had some good luck recording English lessons with the school at the beginning of the pandemic for those who had to remote learn, we were in with trusted partners. We had no idea what was about to be given to us as film makers.
As the daily filming's came back. What was happening before our very eyes was a miracle. The level of honesty, compassion and care held by every single person we spoke to, from the oldest to the youngest proves one thing, Tiger Pride is sacred. The number of Muskegon Heights Alumni that have gone on to all corners of the world to make immense differences is staggering and the history lesson given is one that many in Muskegon might not even know. You are going to hear the wisdom of generations and the ideas of those planting the seeds of trees they may never get to enjoy the shade of, but they are there planting.
About two weeks before this film premiered, the first man you'll hear speak, Brother J.F. Harris passed away. We would like to offer our most humble condolences to his family and friends and the Muskegon Heights Community he loved so dearly. While his loss will be felt for a long time, to have his words here, now and forever, will be a gift to young people to for all time. Please know that the amount wisdom shared in his few minutes here is only found in those who've lived a life as selfless and giving as his.
It's our humble hope that the words of the members of this production go far and wide. The voices here speak of reason, belief and drive and in sharing the rich history of Muskegon Heights and the clear commitment to not giving up and the future unfolding with people out front who understand that Muskegon Heights is truly the City of Friendly People. We were blessed to be given work filming a school project, we were doubly blessed to be given the trust of amazing friends and neighbors to share their most intimate memories, hopes and dreams.
If you feel compelled to share this, please do. You can also see the film on demand with the Muskegon Channel for Roku and Amazon Fire TV Devices.
Tiger Pride Continuing the Legacy - A Muskegon Heights Michigan Documentary Film