J. B. Murray: Writing in Unknown Tongues Entire Folkstreams

Making The Film

Using The Film

J. B. Murray: Writing in Unknown Tongues: Reading through the Water

Film by Judith Mcwillie
Produced by Judith Mcwillie
Cinematographer: Judith Mcwillie
Editing: Judith Mcwillie
Copyright: 1986, Judith Mcwillie
09 minutes, Color
Original format: VHS, 1986
Distributor: Patricia Sawin
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Home streaming only. For other permissions apply to Judith Mcwillie or to the distributor.

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Preview one minute trailer - Comment on film

He use my fingers.
I can't use them on my own.
Jesus, use the instrument of my fingers.

John Bunion (J. B.) Murray (1908-1988) was a farmer who lived in rural Glascock County, Georgia, near the community of Mitchel. When he was approximately seventy years of age, believing he had experienced a vision from God, he began writing a non discursive script on adding machine tape, wall board, and stationery. He described it as "the language of the Holy Spirit, direct from God" and interpreted it using a bottle of water as a focusing device. In the last ten years of his life he made over a thousand paintings, introducing the script into fields of color and adding figures that represent "the evil people; the ones that are dry tongued, the one's that don't know God". Murray's works are exhibited throughout the world and he is represented in collections in Japan, Switzerland, France, and the United States.

See the filmmaker Judith McWillie's site LESSONS AND CHANTS -- an interactive forum dedicated to the contributions of American artists of African descent to our nation's culture and identity.