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NET Journal; Black Natchez

@ Library of Congress

Pincus, Edward Neuman, David A Neuman, David Goldman, Michael


Episode Number: 128Episode Number: 202Black Natchez is about a genteel Southern town and two bombings a year and a half apart. The first bombing in August 1965 injured local NAACP president George Metcalfe. The second on February 27, 1967 killed local NAACP treasurer Wharlest Jackson. The film is concerned primarily with the undercurrents within the Negro community, prior to and after the first bombing. As the film begins, local Negroes are trying to form a self-protection group, called Deacons. Masked behind the bravado, there is apathy and some fear. Organizing isnt popular here. James Jackson, a barber who emerges as the hero of the film, is preparing to leave the civil rights movement out of frustration then the first bombing occurs. The Negroes become militant. And two groups the NAACP and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) begin their own power struggle. But despite the turmoil, the Negroes arent ready to affect Natchez permanently. The mayor makes familiar concessions and the Negro movement subsides. A year and a half later, Natchez has a few Negro policemen, but is it debatable whether any of them can arrest a white man. Some Negro children have tried to attend white schools, but soon stopped going. And the mayor, despite demand, has refused to denounce the Ku Klux Klan. But after the second bombing, recorded at the films end, the mayor must make some accommodation. Black Natchez, though not strongly united, can react at a time of violence. Therefore, the mayor comes to a...
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