Screening at The Lyric Theater in Harrison, Arkansas, Friday, September 9th

“Mississippi Innocence,” the award-winning documentary that traces the combined thirty year ordeal of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, two Mississippi men convicted of crimes that they did not commit, will screen at The Lyric Theater at 7 p.m. in Harrison, Ark. Sept. 9 as part of the Ozark Art Council fall arts series.

James Loewen writes of Harrison in his book, “Sundown Towns” (New Press, 2005). He writes that in 1905, “a white mob stormed the jail, carried several black prisoners outside the town, whipped them and ordered them to leave. The rioters then swept through Harrison’s black neighborhood, tying men to trees and whipping them, burning several homes and warning all African Americans to leave that night. Most fled without any belongings.” The violence spread and black residents in neighboring communities fled as well. In the 1900 Census, the black community in Harrison numbered 115 people in a town of 1,500. Less than ten years later, that community was gone. Today, Harrison is home to just over 12,000 residents, more than 97 percent of them white. Fewer than 40 African Americans live in Boone County, out of a total population of 34,000. Many in Harrison have made efforts at racial reconciliation. Nevertheless, the Harrison-based Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is the largest and most active Klan unit operating in the U.S.

Among those who have tried to spearhead efforts to improve race relations is the Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations with corporate support from FedEx, which has its freight operations center in Harrison, and the local arts council.
“[The screening] will have a tremendous impact on those in Harrison who come to see it, especially given our tumultuous past,” said Jaime Stevens. Stevens is from Noxubee County and his father was the foreman for Brooks’ jury. “I’m proud of this community for seeking to right past wrongs, and this event is another milestone along our path towards racial healing. The people of Harrison are excited and eagerly anticipating the movie. “Mississippi Innocence” is a deeply moving and inspirational story of two men’s journey towards redemption. It also happens to be a story of racism and class-ism in the New South, and is a harrowing tale of the justice system gone horribly wrong. [This is] a must-see movie for anyone living in America and the best argument against the death penalty that I have ever seen or heard.”
For ticket information and event details, please visit The Lyric Theater’s website: http://www.thelyricharrison.org/events.html
The Mississippi Innocence Project’s website is here: www.mississippiinnocence.org

The University’s Law School site is here: http://www.law.olemiss.edu/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s