Here’s some info I stumbled upon recently. It seems actor Morgan Freeman has attempted, for at least five years now, to get the story of famous lawman Bass Reeves to the big screen.
So who was Bass Reeves you ask? He’s believed to be the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal. Born a slave in 1838, he was one of the first black federal lawmen west of the Mississippi River that became a legend for his ability to catch criminals under trying circumstances arresting over 3,000.
Here’s more detailed info from deputybassreeves.com :
Bass Reeves redefined our perception of a true American hero. Born a slave to a Texas farmer and politician, Reeves fled to Indian Territory in the 1860s to avoid the usual punishment of death for fighting with his master. Reeves lived among the Seminole and Creek Indians until the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing African-Americans from slavery and oppression. Settling in Van Bure, Arkansas, Reeves married, began a family, and tended his farm.
In 1875, Isaac C. Parker – a newly appointed federal judge – set out to tame the Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. James Fagan, the tenth U.S. Marshal appointed the the district, began recruitting 200 deputies to capture fugitives so that Judge Parker’s court could administer justice. Bass Reeves was a natural choice because of his intimate knowledge of Indian Territory, his skills in multiple dialects, his markmanship, and his tenacity.
By the time Reeves retired in 1907, this former slave had served 32 years as a federal peace officer, arresting more than 3,000 felons. Reeves finished his law enforcement career as a member of the Muskogee, Oklahoma Police Department.
Reeves was the first African-American inducted into the Great Westerners Hall of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1992.
So far, there’s only been one low-budget production depicting the famous frontiersman. Independent film producer Sharon Ray, also director of the Bare Bones Film Festival in Oklahoma, is in the early stages of developing a project as well.
In 2010, a member of the Bass Reeves Legacy Intiative, a non-profit created to support projects commemorating the life and times of Reeves, had a chance to talk and meet with Freeman which you can see in the video posted below.