WBTV’s Steve Crump to Receive North Carolina Humanities’ 2022 Caldwell Award

The award honors distinguished individuals whose achievements and contributions have strengthened the educational, cultural and civic lives of North Carolinians.
Steve Crump has been selected to receive the 2022 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities.
Steve Crump has been selected to receive the 2022 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities.(North Carolina Humanities)
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 7:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Humanities has selected Steve Crump to receive the 2022 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities.

Crump is being honored for his lifelong dedication to creative documentary storytelling and truthful, in-depth news reporting.

Through the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities, North Carolina Humanities honors distinguished individuals whose achievements and contributions have strengthened the educational, cultural and civic lives of North Carolinians.

Crump will be presented the award during North Carolina Humanities’ 50th Anniversary Celebration, set to be held this October in Charlotte.

He has served the public for nearly four decades as a reporter at WBTV, but it is his passion for documentary filmmaking – largely for public broadcasting – that distinguishes him from his peers and stands as a corpus of work defining the evolution of racial boundaries in Charlotte and the South.

Nine of Crump’s documentaries have gone into national distribution to PBS stations.

Of his 30-plus films, eight have won regional Emmys and have covered topics ranging from Martin Luther King Jr.’s last days, to lunch counter sit-ins in the Carolinas, to the perils of Dorothy Counts, who was taunted and spat upon by a white crowd on the first day of school in 1957 when she integrated Charlotte’s Harding High School.

Over the years, Crump has interviewed a constellation of notables, ranging from Desmond Tutu to Pete Seeger to Angelina Jolie, for his documentaries.

One 1996 documentary was the poignant “Souls of Passage,” which traced the trade route from the slave dungeons of the African coast to the cotton fields of the Carolinas.

After the Africa productions, he went on to explore issues as diverse as bebop music, the development of the banjo, black World War II heroes and 19th century Black jockeys, all produced on his own time and on shoestring budgets.

Many of Crump’s productions have captured the last living memories of key Civil Rights figures, their final perspectives memorialized in video before their deaths. Now viewed as vital to the region’s historical record, his specials are part of the permanent collections at both UNC Charlotte and the University of South Carolina.

A great-great-grandson of slaves, he credits his storytelling skills to listening at the kitchen table of his childhood home, where three generations of family wove rich tales of their lives.

Antebellum reminisces of agrarian life in Kentucky’s Bourbon Belt were still crisp in family lore, and through Crump they still are.

Crump was the recipient of 2013′s Martin Luther King Jr. Medallion, which honors a Charlottean who has worked to promote racial equality and social justice. His career reputation is widely recognized for fearlessness and fairness.

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