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Mississippi Inferno

Mississippi Inferno

  • Premiered: 
    February 16, 2015
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Smithsonian
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
  • Tags:

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Plot Synopsis

Narrated by Danny Glover, this two-part special reveals the essential role played by black landowners and black independent farmers as a real driving force behind the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. MISSISSIPPI INFERNO features first-person accounts of the courage and resourcefulness of the families who jeopardized their land and their lives for social justice. Their story has been largely ignored and yet they were key to the success of the civil rights movement. They not only provided safe havens and food, but even armed protection to the outside volunteers who were otherwise committed to non-violence. Willing to risk it all, they changed the course of American history. Powerful southern white officials may have been worried more about African-Americans using the "cotton vote" to take over agricultural committees which controlled millions of dollars in federal crop subsidies than they were about black enfranchisement. Also told is the story of an independent farmer and teacher, Robert Clarke J.R., who came to own the land on which his great-grandparents were enslaved and became the first black candidate elected to a state-wide office in Mississippi since Reconstruction. This special also reveals how a New Deal era experiment in land reform enabled over 100 families of sharecroppers to gain control of 10,000 acres of some of the most fertile land in the state and become independent farmers who a generation later became leaders of the civil rights movement in Mississippi.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Thunk It Media
  • In association with Mentorn Media