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Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi    cover photo

Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi 2015

Highly Recommended

Distributed by California Newsreel, Order Dept., P.O. Box 3400, Lancaster, PA 17604-3400; 877-811-7495 (toll free)
Produced by David Shulman
Directed by David Shulman
DVD , color, 88 min.

High School - General Adult
African-Americans, History, Civil Rights, Voting, Farming, Mississippi, 1960s

Date Entered: 04/15/2016

Reviewed by Johnnie N. Gray, Director of Media Services, Christopher Newport University

Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi examines the black landowning families in the Mississippi delta region in the 1960’s and their critical role in achieving the right to vote for blacks. Much turmoil and suffering is described by the people alive during that time as they recount the harassment by the KKK and local government. In the face of terror and injustice, profiles of the brave people in the region emerge, culminating in the election of the first black man to statewide office in Mississippi in the 20th century. The summer of 1964, known as, Freedom Summer, in Mississippi is at the core of the story. Black landowners risked their own land to bail out people they didn’t even know that had attempted to register to vote. Even registering wasn’t the last hurdle because your name appeared in the newspaper and your life was endangered. Fannie Lou Hamer and John Lewis are both mentioned as activists as well as the death of the three activists upon which the film, Mississippi Burning, is based. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 plays the pivotal role here.

Suitable for high school and up. An essential historical document that vividly illustrates the history of the time with first person accounts.