Director: David Adkin
About the Film
In his filmic tribute,
A Farmer From Amber Valley, director David Adkin tells the story of J.D.
Edwards and his wife Martha Murphy, two of the first settlers in the black
settlement of Alberta known as "Amber Valley."
Jeff Edwards was 21 when he left Oklahoma for Canada in 1910, seeking
an escape from segregation and prejudice in the American South. From Edmonton
he walked a hundred miles north, staked a homestead east of Athabasca,
then married his sweetheart, Martha.
Told through the archival pictures and the stories of their children,
Adkin's documentary reveals how Jeff and Martha tackled the rigors of
pioneer life, carving a farm out of the bush, while raising ten children.
Edwards embraced his new citizenship with pride, becoming involved in
local politics, the school and hospital boards, and a founding member
of the Alberta Wheat Pool. In 1926, J.D. started the Amber Valley Baseball
Team, whose members served as unofficial ambassadors of the black community.
Jeff was presented with an Achievement Award in Humanities from the Alberta
government in 1973, in honour of his contributions to sports, politics
and community life. He died in 1979 at the age of 90, remembered as a
proud Canadian citizen who epitomized the spirit of black pioneers who
settled the Canadian West.
Director David Adkin grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where he developed
an abiding passion for Canada and the West.