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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

BOOKER'S PLACE: A MISSISSIPPI STORY

By D.E.Levine


A Tribeca Film Festival Selection

This is a must-see documentary made by Raymond De Felitta.  In 1966 Frank De Felitta made an NBC documentary about race relations in Greenwood, Mississippi.  An illiterate black waiter, Booker Wright, appeared for 2 minutes summing up his Greenwood existence.  Little did anyone know that the 2 minutes of Booker Wright would have far-reaching repercussions for everyone involved.

In the context of 2012, what Booker Wright said on-screen doesn't seem terrible.  But in 1966 his comments caused the loss of his job, his own restaurant and he was pistol-whipped by a local cop.  His murder several years later raised many unanswered questions.

Traveling to Greenwood with Wright's grand-daughter, Yvette Johnson, De Felitta and Johnson screen the 1966 documentary for the towns-people.

With inter-cutting of old black-and-white footage with current black-and-white footage it's fascinating to see the changes between the segregated south and fear of the Klan and police in 1966 with what exists in the south today.