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History Vs. the Movies: Mississippi Burning

February 28, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 11:00 am

 History Vs. the Movies: Mississippi Burning

The Civil Rights Era is one of the most exciting, important, and electrifying eras in American history.

From a cinematic standpoint it had everything. Dynamic and diverse leadership, powerful and determined villains, mystery, motivation and manipulation. Nonetheless, movies about the era generally not been hits and despite the hype about Selma, no great masterpiece of filmmaking has yet emerged. “Mississippi Burning”  is a brilliant film but, from a historical point of view, utter nonsense. “Selma” is a maddening jumble.Selma In its sections on Martin Luther King, it is extraordinary. In its sections on Lyndon Johnson it is completely misleading. “Ghosts of Mississippi” is an earnest and well-made film about the trial of the murderer of Medgar Evers. However, unless you already knew quite a bit about Medgar Evers, you would leave the film wondering who exactly he was.

Some of the best films about the Civil Rights Movement have actually been made-for-TV films. Clark Johnson directed “Boycott” Boycott for HBO and it combines arresting visuals with superb acting. The Rosa Parks made-for-TV movie was likewise very good. Spike Lee directed an outstanding documentary, “Four Little Girls.”  But so far, a genuine cinematic masterpiece about the Civil Rights Era has eluded filmmakers.

In this fast-moving and thought-provoking multimedia presentation, we will look at clips from some of the films about the Civil Rights Movement.   Our special focus will be on “Mississippi Burning.” Using inside stories, personal anecdotes and a clear timeline, we will see how this brilliantly made film distorted history and changed America’s perceptions about the Movement.

Check this out: in “Mississippi Burning,”  the FBI gets an invaluable ship to find out where the bodies are buried. The screenwriter and director had to fictionalize where the tip came from. That is because the mystery informant had never been revealed. Working with the brilliant investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell, I was able to help figure out where the tip had come from – Jerry uncovered the identity of the mysterious “Mr. X.” Click here to find out who he was!

PLEASE NOTE: Registration is required to attend. 


Omaha Central High School
Omaha, NE United States + Google Map