LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Central Arkansas Library has announced a screening of The Harvest, a new film by Pulitzer Prize Winner Douglas Blackmon and Academy Award Nominee Sam Pollard, at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock on Thursday, September 21 from 6:30 – 9 p.m.
The special screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.
The film explores Backmon's experiences as a member of the first integrated public school class in Leland, Mississippi back in 1970 and the repercussions still felt over 50 years later.
Following the 1954 Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, many Southern schools remained segregated.
However, on October 29, 1969, the high court ordered Mississippi schools to fully and immediately desegregate. Narrated by Blackmon, the film features candid interviews with his fellow peers and others who experienced the historic desegregation efforts.
The story follows the brave group of citizens who worked to integrate schools in an unlikely setting at the time and traces the lives of Blackmon and his classmates through their high school graduation in 1982.
The film wraps up in the present, addressing that the success of those first years of integration had gradually fallen apart as the local economy faltered and racial divides deepened once more.
But amid those disappointments, Blackmon finds hope in his former classmates, many of whom have gone on to fill community leadership roles in Leland.
The Harvest paints a fascinating portrait of one town and an extraordinary class of students while taking a look at the ongoing challenges of racial division and education equity still happening in America today.
The new documentary will premiere on American Experience on Tuesday, September 12, from 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS App.