Producers for documentary about race in America to hear stories in Vicksburg
Editor’s note: Due to rain, the conversation will be filmed at Vicksburg City Park and Pavilion, 100 Army Navy Dr. The story has been updated and corrected. Due to COVID-19 concerns, only those invited to participate in the conversation will be allowed at the event. The public is not invited.
Vicksburg will play a key role in a documentary examining race in America.
Friday, producers for the documentary “American Neighbor — Courageous Conversations about Race in America,” will have a discussion with nearly two dozen residents about their perceptions of current race relations and the history of race relations in Vicksburg.
“The organizers are traveling down the Mississippi River from Minnesota to New Orleans and collecting stories along the way, talking to people about race and their thoughts about race,” said local businesswoman Linda Fondren, who was asked to coordinate the Vicksburg event. “Race is very broad. People could have experienced racism in education, in housing, could be in health, could be a number of issues they would want to talk about. I was asked to help and I said ‘I would love to. What a great conversation to have.'”
The documentary, which is part of The Nantucket Project, includes conversations in communities along the Mississippi River, beginning with sessions already held in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee. The project will finish its sessions with two stops in Louisiana — one in Convent, La. on Aug. 1 and another in New Orleans on Aug. 2.
The visit to Vicksburg is the only stop production crews will have in Mississippi.
Among those already committed to participating in Friday’s conversation include Bertram Hayes-Davis, local NAACP President Bobby Morrow, Vicksburg National Military Park Superintendent Bill Justice, Brig. Gen. Robert Crear (U.S. Army, ret.) and Mayor George Flaggs Jr.
Fondren said other local leaders and residents have been invited to participate and she is awaiting their confirmation.
Fondren said first there will be two short films about the project itself. Then, producers will talk about the conversation itself and then facilitate the conversation.
Fondren said her excitement for this event is not just what might be said, but what might be heard.
“It is a chance for people to listen to what someone else has to say and then they will get a chance to say what they would want to about race,” Fondren said. “It’s an important project about a critical issue about our past and our future.”
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