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Freedom Summer revisits Mississippi’s voting rights history

Award-winning filmmaker credits his career to those who risked their lives for change
 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

An oft-overlooked but important part of the Civil Rights Movement is the focus of Freedom Summer, which premiers on American Experience Tuesday, June 24 and will be shown locally on TPT Channel 2 at 8 pm. Bob Moses, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) local secretary, came up with a plan in 1964 to bring over 700 student volunteers, mostly from the North, to the South for a 10-week stint during the summer to help locals fighting for voting rights for Blacks in Mississippi. That state’s Black registered voters were less than seven percent at that time compared to 50-70 percent in other southern states. Later known as “Freedom Summer,” the Mississippi Summer Project was also intended “to force the media and the country to take notice of the shocking violence and massive injustice taking place in Mississippi.” Sadly, the country did take notice as, after a week into the program’s start, three volunteers went missing and were later found brutally murdered. Moses, NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond and U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton are among the 32 individuals filmmaker Stanley Nelson interviews in Freedom Summer. Continue Reading →

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Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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