A charismatic black woman at the University of Alabama runs for Homecoming Queen, going up against a century of ingrained racial segregation, internal black politics, and a secret association of all-white fraternities.

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'Bama Girl follows a charismatic black woman's quest to become the 2005 Homecoming Queen at the University of Alabama, one of the great Deep South institutions. Homecoming has a rich history there, tied into centuries of privilege, old money, and racial exclusivity. We follow Jessica Thomas' campaign for Queen, running against not only 15 other co-eds, but a strictly segregated Greek system, internal black politics, and, most ominously, a secret all-white association called 'The Machine' that has been controlling politics at the University for most of the past century. This is a film about the light and the dark sides of tradition - and a fascinating parable for the electoral politics that affect our country everyday. Written by Director

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10 March 2008 (USA)  »

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Say yes to Jess
5 December 2008 | by (Oakland CA) – See all my reviews

This fascinating documentary takes a look at the annual homecoming rites at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where a student body election determines who will be the belle of the ball. Until 2005, the process had been a tightly controlled insider game, with anointed (and always white) favorites heavily promoted by "The Machine", a shadowy group of fraternities and sororities that also nurtured many Alabama power brokers--senators, congressmen, lawyers and the like--over the years. Tradition, however, didn't sit well with African-American student Jessica Thomas, who with some help from her sorority sisters decided to run an independent candidacy, relying on a get out the vote effort aimed at student groups who traditionally had not been involved in the homecoming process. It's all a little reminiscent of the American democratic process in general. I won't give away the ending, but this is a wonderful little film that will keep your attention to the end.


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