The Harvest: Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Join us on Thursday, September 21, for The Harvest, a new film from Pulitzer Prize Winner Douglas Blackmon and Academy Award Nominee Sam Pollard. Exploring the roots of the crisis in public education in America. Make sure to save your seats by registering for the event.
In The Harvest, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas A. Blackmon looks back at how school integration transformed his hometown of Leland, Mississippi. After the 1954 Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, little more than token efforts were made to desegregate Southern schools. That changed dramatically on October 29, 1969, when the high court ordered that Mississippi schools to fully — and immediately — desegregate. As a result, a group of children, including six-year-old Blackmon, became part of the first class of Black and white children who would attend all 12 grades together in Leland.
Set against vast historic and demographic changes unfolding across America, The Harvest follows a coalition of Black and white citizens working to create racially integrated public schools in a cotton town in the middle of the Mississippi Delta, the most rigidly segregated area in America. It tells the extraordinary story of how that first class became possible, then traces the lives of Blackmon and his classmates, teachers and parents from the first day through high school graduation in 1982. It is a riveting portrait of how those children’s lives were transformed and how the town — and America — were changed. But as the film follows the lives of those children into the present, it is also a portrait of what our society has lost in its failure to finish the work begun a generation ago.
Following the screening, a panel discussion with the filmmakers.
Sponsored by CALS, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and the Clinton Foundation.
Major funding for American Experience provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Major funding for The Harvest provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom, W.K. Kellogg Foundation: A Partner with Communities Where Children Come First, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations: Investing in Our Common Future, members of The Better Angels Society including The Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, and Chasing the Dream, a public media initiative from The WNET Group, reporting on poverty, justice, and economic opportunity in America. Additional series funding for American Experience provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, the Documentary Investment Group, and public television viewers.
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