Friday, January 19, 2007
On January 22 the documentary Banished: American Ethnic Cleansings, which is about Jim Crow era violence and the efforts to revisit those histories today, will premiere at the Sundance Festival. It focuses on what people called "negro drives" by communities in Missouri, Arkansas, and Georgia. The episodes began with allegations that black men attacked white women. Then followed episodes of violence and black people were driven from their home communities. To this day the communities continue segregated.
Marco Williams, who has produced such acclaimed documentaries as Two Towns of Jasper, is the director and co-producer of Banished (along with Mia Harris, who's co-producer). Obviously I haven't seen it yet, although I have on good authority that it's excellent and very much look forward to seeing it soon.
Here's an interview with Marco Williams about Banished. I hope you'll check out Banished's website, Banishedthefilm.com. Look in particular for the trailers. And if you're looking for a book to read along with it, I highly recommend James Loewen's Sundown Towns.
Alfred L. Brophy