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Summer in Mississippi (1965)

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The filmmakers travel to the American south to interview friends, relatives and enemies of three young civil rights workers who were murdered while educating black voters.

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Film report which examines the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. Included are shots of: a Klu Klux Klan cross burning; students learning how to prepare for harassment and gathering at a campus in Oxford, Ohio; an interview with the Deputy Sheriff of Natchez County and local citizens' opinions of the probable events prior to the students' murders; volunteers relating their experiences; interviews with bereaved relatives; and a memorial church service for the slain youths. Written by ArchiviaNet

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Documentary | Short

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11 October 1964 (Canada)  »

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Early Documentary Filmmaking: Summer in Mississippi
10 June 2003 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Summer in Mississippi is a Canadian film directed and written by Beryl Fox. Created in 1965, it was funded by the CBC in its fledgling years. It documents the summer of 1964, specifically the social climate in Mississippi after June 21, 1964 when the bodies of three young people were found. Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were representatives for COFO, the Council Of Federated Organizations. During summers in the early 1960s COFO organized programs to send young students to the deep south to educate people of colour on how to vote and what their voting rights were. Voter turn out for people of colour in that area, particularly Mississippi were always very low. Because of social pressure from other ethnic groups, geographic barriers, educational deficiencies, and at times physical threats from individuals and groups; voting for Blacks had become almost impossible in this region.

These student volunteers traveled to the south and tried to overcome these barriers.

They were not welcome by those who put the barriers up in the first place though.

Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner were found murdered June 21, 1964; the victims of anonymous individuals who did not want to see them succeed with their mission.

Fox takes us to Mississippi, not to follow the murder trail; but as a follow up on what new student volunteers faced as they headed to Mississippi and the super-heated social climate. Through one-on-one interviews with residents, students, and authorities, she paints a vivid picture of a time in Mississippi where the summer heat reflects the inflamed emotions of the whole state.


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