Mississippi Burning

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Prentiss Austin
I decided on watching Mississippi Burning to write my final paper on. This movie came out in 1988, and stared Gene Hackman (Anderson) and William Dafoe (Ward) as F.B.I agents. Mississippi Burning was loosely based on the real life events of the search for three Civil Rights Activists who were kidnapped and murdered in summer of 1964 during the Freedom rides. This film interested me because I wanted to see how my acquired knowledge of the CRM influenced my feelings about the movie. I remember hearing about the movie when it came out in 1988, but I was only 10 at the time and had little education on the CRM.

I will say overall I thought the film excellent. I think they captured both segregation and racial tension that existed in Mississippi very well, and the portrayal was accurate. From the very opening scene of the movie it was clear how divided Mississippi was, as it showed two water fountains; one “white” and the other “colored”. You then see a young white child getting water from “white” fountain which poured water with lots of pressure on command. Then a young black boy goes to the “colored” fountain which the water is running continuously and at a level so low where your lips touch the metal because the pressure is so small. The use of the children to me signifies the idea that everyone in the South knew there place, and had little chose but to comply with the white man out of fear for his or her life.

The second image shown in the film is that of Church burning on fire. As we learned in class, Churches were a place blacks congregated and whites would bomb them in an attempt to create fear. In this case the Church was being used as a place to facilitate voter registration for blacks in Mississippi. Seeing the image of the Church being burned and a cross set on fire in the front yard begin to get to me after a while. The group known for starting many of these fires was the K.K.K. The K.K.K was real big in Mississippi, and the...
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