You may have attended or heard about the preview screening of Dirt & Deeds at the Jackson Convention Complex in June 2014 as part of the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer Conference. While it was not the finished film, the screening was attended by over 300 people and the film received a rousing standing ovation. Nine people who are in the film were present. It was a very emotional evening with several unexpected reunions between landowners featured in the film and present for the screening and conference attendees who were at the screening who stayed in the homes of these landowners during Freedom Summer.
Dirt & Deeds In Mississippi is now a completed feature documentary that will challenge and change the way America sees the civil rights movement in Mississippi.
Your help was invaluable in raising the completion funds
The film presents a unique perspective on the role of Black landowners and independent farmers who were the secret weapon in the historic fight to overthrow white supremacy in America’s most violence prone state.
Distribution is now underway. California Newsreel is the distributor for educational or institutional use. For personal use please click here.
Dirt & Deeds reveals
- The essential role played by landowning families and independent farmers providing safe havens for hundreds of civil rights volunteers from outside the state before, during, and after the dangerous months of Freedom Summer.
- How crucial Black landowners were to the voter registration work of James Chaney and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba Country, Mississippi. (Andrew Goodman was a newcomer to Mississippi when he was killed with his two colleagues).
- That a second ‘triple murder’ may have been planned by the KKK – only the next three targets were not ‘outside agitators’ but three Black landowners who dared to allow civil rights workers stay in their homes.
- How Black landowners and independent farmers were willing to risk their land, their homes, and their livelihood by using their land as collateral to obtain ‘property bonds’ to get 100’s of arrested civil rights workers out of jail.
- How virtually all of the ‘Freedom Schools’ and voter registration workshops which where essential to community organizing across rural Mississippi – were on Black owned land
- How Robert Clark, an independent farmer and teacher who came to own the land on which his great-grandparents were slaves became the first Black candidate elected to a state-wide office in Mississippi since Reconstruction.