COLUMBUS, Miss. – An alumna’s documentary, which tells about the current state of race relations in Mississippi, is back in the spotlight and will broadcast nationwide on some 60 Public Broadcasting Service stations.
It was just four years ago that Myra Williams Ottewell’s one-hour documentary titled “Mississippi ReMixed” aired on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. It will air again on MPB Sunday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. and Sunday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m.
The documentary also will be shown on The W’s campus by the Coretta Social Club as part of Black History Month events scheduled for this month. The film showing will be held Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the President's Dining Room.
Ottewell, who has lived in British Columbia since graduating from The W in 1969, grew up in Jackson in the midst of racial segregation and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement.
It was almost 10 years ago that she was invited to recount her days growing up in the South to a Canadian classroom that had recently watched the movie “Mississippi Burning.”
While Ottewell agreed with the facts of the movie, she described her experiences growing up in Mississippi as peaceful during that time; however, Ottewell’s recollection did not set well with her students, who “could not buy it,” she said.
At that point, Ottewell set out to educate her students about her experience, interviewing well known subjects such as James Meredith, a figure in the civil rights movement, and others less known, including Brenda Travis, who was arrested at the age of 16 for entering a whites-only waiting room.
The interviews were an eye-opening experience for Ottewell, who said, “I was completely ignorant about what was happening to my African-American contemporaries.”
Essentially the film she started to make turned into her own personal journey, and Ottewell had to come to grips with the aspects of her own family’s past.
“Mississippi ReMixed” exposes audience to rarely seen archival footage, interviews with Civil Rights leaders, everyday citizens and high school students. The documentary shows first-hand not only the struggles but also the success Mississippi is having with integration today.
Ottewell said, “I am absolutely thrilled that it will be shown by 69 public television stations. I would love for people to view it with friends of different ethnic or racial backgrounds, share a meal and discuss it afterward.
“I wanted the documentary to be used as a discussion starter. It’s been a privilege to be able to do it and now show it.”
For more information about the documentary, visit www.mississippiremixed.com.
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