Veteran filmmaker Stanley Nelson crafts a portrait of the dangers of registering black voters in segregationist Mississippi in 1964.
Check in opens at 5:30 pm. Our program starts at 6:30. The Roadhouse menu is available for snacks or dinner. There will be an opportunity for discussion following the film.
Donations to the CCDP are welcome.
PARK CITY, Utah -- "Crack Mississippi and you've cracked the South." That was the strategy of more than 700 college students who descended on the segregationist state in 1964 to register black voters. Of the Southern states, Mississippi had both the highest percentage of blacks in the population, and, by far, the lowest percentage of black registered voters. If they could embolden black voters to register in the worst Southern state, they reasoned the other states would follow.
It was a controversial and very risky undertaking. Almost immediately three participants turned up missing, later found murdered. Indeed, what most of the idealistic and naive college students did not grasp was the hair-trigger violence of Mississippi. It was a dangerous naivety that was not lost on the black Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee members who organized the movement within the state.
In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over ten memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation’s most segregated states. Working together, they canvassed for voter registration, created Freedom Schools and established the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party with the goal of challenging the segregationist state Democratic Party at the national convention in Atlantic City. Freedom Summer was marked by sustained and deadly violence, including the notorious murders of three civil rights workers, countless beatings, the burning of 35 churches and the bombing of 70 homes and community centers.
In its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Freedom Summer enthralled and educated a packed house about the backwater and backroom perils of their dangerous quest. Mixing archival footage, news clips from the time and recent interviews with the participants, veteran filmmaker. Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), has crafted a searing portrait of those violent, racist times. Intelligently composed and powerfully driven, Freedom Summer is a stirring historical document.
Freedom Summer highlights an overlooked but essential element of the civil rights movement: the patient and long-term efforts by outside activists and local citizens in Mississippi to organize communities and register black voters — even in the face of intimidation, physical violence and death. “The Freedom Summer story reminds us that the movement that ended segregation was far more complex than most of us know,” says AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Executive Producer Mark Samels.
39 West St
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Google map and directions