Hankerson is a writer, producer, and educator for Freebooters Productions and lives in St. Johns County. His school years began inside the Washington, DC Beltway in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
He has been employed under Republican presidential appointments dating back to the age of 25, starting with President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush. Hankerson continued by working for President George Herbert Walker and Vice President Qualye. At the age of 37, he worked for President George Walker Bush and Vice President Cheney in Washington, DC. In addition, he worked for the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.
Hankerson’s family is from the 6th District of Florida and his ancestors include business owners, a dentist, doctors, ministers and educators who were active contributors within those communities dating back to the 1700’s. Hankerson himself has lived in St. Johns County for 13 years and has spearheaded many film production and economic development projects for the travel and tourism industry.
A sample of those projects includes connecting the National Park Service Underground Railroad “Network to Freedom” project to Fort Mose in St Johns County; the first free black settlement in North America. With his business partner, Hankerson hosted and sponsored the NPS 6th Annual Underground Railroad Conference in St. Johns County in 2012 as well as the NPS Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Conference in St. Johns County, 2011.
Hankerson has co-produced a number of documentaries that highlight the original Underground Railroad. West Africans, known as Gullah-Geechee, traveled this Underground Railroad which heads south to Spanish Florida.
Hankerson was interviewed at Fort Mose by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, the preeminent Harvard scholar, for the Gates’ six-part documentary which was seen by 10 million people on Public Broadcasting Service television. Hankerson film maker and actor who has been featured in numerous national and local television commercials.
Derek Hankerson and his business partner are featured in the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center which accompanies the Journey of 450 Years of African American Experience and also highlights Civil Rights. In addition, they produced a number of film shorts on Florida’s rich history and heritage as a means of driving travel and tourism to Florida.