$2,110 raised out of $100,000
Start date
Jun 12, 2022
Close date
Jul 13, 2022

We are creating a documentary to tell the inspiring story of Judge Marilyn Atkins.


It was an interracial romance that sparked a scandal of race and religion.

I was the young Black organist in my Catholic church.

At birth, I was rejected by my white mother’s family when she became pregnant by her married Black boyfriend in 1946.

I was put in foster care… adopted by a Black family… but my adoptive mother was emotionally and physically abusive.

More abuse came from my boyfriend.

So I sought counsel from our priest.

Little did I know that Father Thomas Lee Atkins was profoundly unhappy after 15 years of Catholic priesthood.

He confided in me that he wanted to leave the priesthood, marry, and have children of his own.

“You can’t do that!” I told him. Priests are supposed to stay committed to the Church for life, and are prohibited from marrying or having children.

Still, he left the priesthood.

And we fell in love.

He was 44 and white.

I was 19 and Black.

It was 1966, and the Civil Rights Movement was in full force.

Interracial marriage was illegal in 16 states.

And the Bishop told me to end the relationship, or we would be damned to hell.

Fortunately, my husband and I were renegades, defying the racial and religious conventions of the time. We didn’t care what society or our families or the Catholic Church thought about us. 

We were in love, and we wanted to create a life together, even though interracial marriage was controversial, and deadly racial insurrections were blazing across America.

Our love prevailed, and we were blessed with our first daughter Elizabeth Ann just a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriage. 

Our daughter Catherine Marie was born a year later, when the Kerner Commission announced that: “We are moving toward two societies, one white, one Black, separate and unequal.”

Critics who said our marriage wouldn’t last 24 hours were wrong; we enjoyed 24 years together until, sadly, Tom died in 1990.

But not before we defied the naysayers once again when they asked, “What about the children?”

Well, we are happy to report that our multiracial daughters did not turn out to be “tragic mulattoes”—that terrible stereotype of mixed-race people who are too Black to be white, too white to be Black, and forever floundering and suffering in a gray area of rejection, ridicule, and shame.

No, Elizabeth Ann and Catherine Marie were A students, earned master’s degrees in writing, and started a successful company, Two Sisters Writing & Publishing, which has written and published 33 books celebrating diverse voices with against the odds success stories.

You can call them “triumphant mulattoes” if that word weren’t so outdated and rooted in slave-era degradation. They are proud multiracial women contributing positivity to the world.

As I have done as the longest-serving Chief Judge of Detroit’s 36th District Court, one of the largest and busiest courts in the country.

Thanks to family teamwork with Tom, we both worked full time while I attend law school at night, became a lawyer, and worked my way up the career ladder to elevate our family.

When I retired in 2012, I wrote my memoir at the urging of our daughters and many friends, family members, and colleagues, who then insisted the book become a movie. 

So here we are.

Elizabeth and Catherine are spear-heading a campaign to raise $100,000 to make a documentary film based on my book, The Triumph of Rosemary: a Memoir by Judge Marylin E. Atkins.

I am extremely humble and rather shy about this, but we all agree that our movie can tell the untold story about interracial families and mixed-race kids and adults.

We believe our story will resonate with the more than 33 million Americans who now identify as more than one race, accounting for the largest growing segment of our population.

And we hope to inspire the incredible 15.1% of new marriages that are uniting people across the color line—compared to just 8.4% of existing marriages.

Very importantly, we aim to engage people of all backgrounds to better understand the realities that interracial couples, mixed-race children, and biracial/multiracial adults endure. This includes racism, rejection, identity crises, a pull to embrace or deny one parent’s race, and so much more.

We believe that our story can shine a spotlight on this sensitive and often misunderstood topic, and spark positive conversations about racial healing and unity in America and the world..

Even though we see so many interracial couples and biracial children and adults—as celebrities, athletes, and leaders—the truth about who we are often triggers controversies, such as when a biracial NFL coach was criticized for describing himself as “human” rather than claiming a racial allegiance… and golf champion Tiger Woods was criticized for creating his own word to describe his multiracial, multi-ethnic bloodline.

While every interracial family and mixed-race person has a different story, we all endure similar pain and problems. 

That’s why we’re on a mission to shine a spotlight on the realities that we face—not only the racism and rejection, but also the unique perspectives and problem-solving innovations that we conceive in the midst of challenges.

This is a grand mission, and our nation needs these messages of hope and racial harmony as we mourn the murders of 10 more people in the latest hate-fueled violence when a racist gunman shot up a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. All while  top leaders and newsmakers spew hate speech that social media spreads and amplifies.

What We Need & What You Get

If you’re ready to be part of something that cultivates understanding and unity, to feel that you’re making a positive contribution to end racism and create harmony, then please join our mission to present this inspiring, mind- and heart-shifting movie.

Please help us raise $100,000 to finance our film.

The Production Team

We are working with the award-winning Nick Alexander Films, an established video production company who has had the privilege of capturing stories from all around the world.  Their proven track record of creating culturally uplifting movies made them the clear choice to turn Marylin’s memoir into a film that is worthy of the big screen.  Their first feature length documentary went on to win 15 awards and nominations from film festivals around the nation.  Their film, Illegal, is now available to rent or buy, on Apple TV, YouTube and many other streaming platforms.  

Our Vision for the Movie

Our goal is for The Triumph of Rosemary Movie to get distributed on a major streaming platform, so we intend to create the highest quality, award-worthy film possible.

Our plan is to audition actors to play all of us during the earlier years, while we each narrate our story on camera between re-enactments of key scenes throughout my life and the lives of Elizabeth and Catherine.

We will be launching the crowdfunding campaign in Ashland, Oregon, where Catherine lives, and participating in a Juneteenth celebration there. Then we will continue the campaign from our home base in Michigan, where Elizabeth and I live, and where we will film the movie. 

Your help can enable us to begin auditions and filming as soon as Fall of 2022, with the goal of premiering the movie for Loving Day 2023, which is June 12.

Receive Special Perks for Your Support!

We greatly appreciate your generosity and have laid out some perks, as a way to say thank you!  Some include a free download of the film, exclusive behind the scenes content, and tickets to our VIP launch party.  But most importantly your financial support of this film helps spread a message of hope for interracial couples and people across the United States.

To give either select a perk from the side menu, or use the “Pick a Perk” button at the top of the page where you can enter a custom amount. 

Be an Ambassador for The Triumph of Rosemary Movie

Do you want to support our fundraising campaign, but are unable to make a financial contribution? Then please be an Ambassador for The Triumph of Rosemary Movie. That means:

  • Promoting our campaign to your friends, family, and followers, in person, by phone and email, and on social media. We provide the graphics for you to share, along with content for posting.
  • Attending our virtual and in-person events to view the video, meet us, and share the events with your community.
  • Following the Rosemary Film Project on social media, and engaging by commenting, liking, and sharing.

If you have questions or want more information regarding this campaign and how you can partner with us, e-mail Elizabeth at elizabeth@twosisterswriting.com

Other Ways You Can Help

If you believe in our message but aren’t able to make a financial contribution, here are ways you can help:

  • Please help promote our campaign by using the Indiegogo share tools!
  • Please follow, share, and engage with our campaign on Instagram @TheTriumphOfRosemaryMovie.
  • Please follow share, and engage with our campaign on Facebook/Meta on The Triumph of Rosemary page.
  • Please visit TheTriumphOfRosemary.com to learn more about our story and share the site with anyone whom it can benefit.

Each of us has the power to make a positive impact on the world, and your help with our campaign can help shine a loving spotlight into the shadows of hate and truly help us make the world a better place.

Thank you in advance for your support. May your generosity and good will sparkle back on you a billion times over!