Confronting the Living History of the Civil Rights Struggle (Video)Breaking News
tags: racism, civil rights, documentary, Mississippi Delta
Our country is experiencing a moment of honest reckoning, one that has been a long time building. To understand the enormity of this moment, one needs only to turn to the American South for the living, breathing memory of the struggle for civil rights.
I’m a documentary film maker by trade, and the first time I led a tour of sites from the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, I drove the bus. It was filled with 10 junior high school students and three adult chaperones. Our agenda was created by a former teacher of the school the students attended and my presence was requested to serve as a male chaperone. With little idea of what to expect, I could not have anticipated that the experience would change my life.
Most of us do not have access to all the intricacies of American history. We can learn a tremendous deal about the evolution of civil rights in this country from books, films, and lectures. But to walk the streets where courage and fear so famously clashed—to break bread with and learn from the living foot soldiers, marchers, and participants of the movement both past and present—that is to bear witness. That is to see history come alive.
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