ARLEIGH PRELOW Continued
After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Communications and Public Policy at UC Berkeley, I sought to develop my craft in telling stories– first in local radio in Portland, Oregon, and later in local television in San Francisco and Atlanta.
While in Atlanta, I experienced life-transforming moments. My commitment to my honing craft and production sensibilities led to an Emmy award for my documentary SWEET AUBURN. I also said, “Yes” to following the way of Jesus, and was baptized in the baptismal waters of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. And from the pulpit of that same church, I was introduced to the wisdom of Howard Thurman.
I continued to gather screen credits from projects ranging from PBS series to museum exhibits. After hearing and meeting Howard Thurman in person, I imagined making a film on Thurman—the very person who nurtured and deepened my spiritual life and influenced the journey of countless others. When I nearly lost my life in a head-on car crash with my two young daughters, it became clear that I should finally move forward on that vision.
Over time I discerned that my work as a filmmaker-artist was part of a broader ministerial call to be a caretaker of the soul. With that, I commenced a three-year study and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. More recently I’ve become a Reverend in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
It seems that Thurman and his influence have been with me since day one. I recall smiling when I discovered a particular photograph while researching THE PSALM OF HOWARD THURMAN. It's a snapshot of a group of students, young men who were chapel ushers at Rankin Chapel, Howard University. They pose, adorned in suits and ties, with Howard Thurman on the campus where Thurman served as Dean of Rankin Chapel. Just inches away from Thurman stands a young chapel usher named Leroy Weekes. Weekes later became a noted Los Angeles physician. It was Dr. Leroy Weekes who delivered me into the world on that early February morning in Queen of Angels Hospital.
It seems I was destined to become a filmmaker— and to make the film, THE PSALM OF HOWARD THURMAN.