The scene takes only about 20 seconds, but we wanted to give the feeling that this was a long journey and involved some courage and fearlessness on Ron’s part. To communicate a greater passage of time, the colors shift from sunrise to daylight. We used the railroad tracks to create a foreboding environment that would illustrate Ron’s bravery as he passes boldly through. Finally, as Ron reaches the library where he is not allowed, he passes a stop sign, which serves as a visual cue that he is not supposed to go beyond this point.
Visiting Lake City, SC and talking with Ron’s brother Carl was a key part of coming up with these ideas. For instance, we wouldn’t have known that there were railroad tracks that separated the black and white sections of town. As a result, the story opens on a rich scene with real-life details that serve as metaphors for the racial divide Ron McNair had to overcome and help introduce his courageous, pioneering character.