As the executive producer of the upcoming 2024 documentary “Running to Harvard,” I, Frank (Stroud) Shines, am excited to present a cinematic journey embedded in a rich blend of African-, Native-American, and British-Irish heritage.

Embarking on a Cinematic Odyssey: “Running to Harvard”

My life’s story began in the challenging streets of Oakland, California. Raised by a resilient single mother on welfare, with my four sisters, our family story was marked by adversity. The tragic early loss of two sisters to harsh realities deeply impacted our lives. Yet, within this turbulence, a symbol of optimism shone through. Educators, sports mentors, and art and music instructors – a diverse group – became the architects of my escape, guiding me towards an illustrious Presidential appointment to the US Air Force Academy.




The Stroud Legacy: A Family’s Triumph Over Adversity

K. Dolphus Stroud, a 1925 high school valedictorian from Palmer HS, stands as a clear example of our family’s enduring spirit.

“Running to Harvard” is more than a film; it’s a call for unity, transcending boundaries of politics, social status, ethnicity, gender, education, and sexual orientation. It celebrates the extraordinary potential within us all when we choose collaboration over division.

During my sophomore summer at the Academy, I discovered a trove of family history. My grandfather, Tandy, and his ten siblings, including “Dolphus” – the heart of our documentary – emerged from the shadows of history. Their father’s life, beginning on a Texas slave plantation, exemplifies a narrative too common yet often untold in African-American history.

Kelley Dolphus Stroud: An Unsung Hero

Eight years before Jesse Owens’ historic Olympic feats, Kelley Dolphus Stroud, a Phi Beta Kappa Scholar Athlete destined for Harvard, conquered the Olympic tryouts in the Rocky Mountains. Despite his prowess, racial barriers denied him the resources to journey to the 1928 Olympic Trials in Boston. Yet, his resolve was unshakeable. Embarking on a 2,000-mile journey on foot from Colorado to Cambridge, his story is one of resilience, unity, and the power of the human spirit.

1929 Stroud Family Photo featured in W.E.B. Du Bois’ Crisis Magazine.


A Legacy Beyond Athletics

Dolphus’ journey was more than an athletic feat; it was a catalyst for unity in a Colorado community, transcending barriers of race, class, and gender. His legacy, celebrated as “The Great Black Hope of the Rockies” by the Denver Post, continues to inspire.

Join Our Mission

As we forge ahead with “Running to Harvard,” we invite you to be part of this inspiring narrative. Our journey includes:

  • Meticulous historical research and consultations to ensure authenticity.
  • Comprehensive production expenses, including on-location filming, crew, travel, and accommodations.
  • Creation of period-accurate costumes and props.
  • Post-production costs like editing, sound mixing, and visual effects.
  • Educational outreach through the RTL Foundation’s Nonprofit Development Center.
  • Marketing and distribution efforts to maximize impact.
  • Provisions for unexpected production challenges.

Our team includes esteemed professionals: Ralph-Michael Giordano (Executive Director), Mike Pach (Assistant Director), and Kyle Hanchett (Cinematographer).

Lending Your Support

Your contributions are vital in bringing this story to life. We offer an insider’s glimpse into the filmmaking process, exclusive access to pre-release content, and a window into our ancestral research.

This project is more than a film; it’s a symbol of hope and unity in a pivotal era. We value your support and look forward to journeying together.

With sincere gratitude,

Frank Shines MBA, Captain, USAF (Hon. Discharge)