Race Relations in Yazoo City
Documentary Offers New Insight
JACKSON, Miss. – On Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m., Mississippi Public Broadcasting will air “Yazoo Revisited: Integration and Segregation in a Deep Southern Town,” a documentary film looking back at the history and integration of Yazoo City schools and how race relations have developed since then.
In 1970, under a ruling by the Supreme Court, Mississippi finally implemented full integration of its public schools. The issue had been the center of heated controversy throughout the South in the 16 preceding years since the groundbreaking decision of Brown v. the Board of Education declared racially segregated public schools to be unconstitutional.
In contrast to many other school districts in Mississippi, the integration of the Yazoo City schools went smoothly and without incident. In fact, the peaceful manner in which the black and white communities came together to see the transition through was widely seen as a model for success, at least for a couple of decades.
Renowned writer and Yazoo City native Willie Morris returned to his hometown to cover the integration story for Harper’s, resulting in his 1971 book, “Yazoo: Integration in a Deep Southern Town.”
Fast forward to 2015, when David Rae Morris, filmmaker and son of the late Willie Morris, produced a documentary further exploring Yazoo City’s unique integration story. Through in-depth interviews with former students, faculty, administrators and community leaders, “Yazoo Revisited: Integration and Segregation in a Deep Southern Town” examines the factors that enabled Yazoo to successfully integrate, and how things began to unravel in later years.
The documentary will premiere on MPB Television on Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m., with an encore presentation on Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m. To watch a preview, visit www.mpbonline.org.
Following the premiere of "Yazoo Revisited," MPB will air a special episode of "Conversations" focused on the current state of school integration in Mississippi.
Mississippi Public Broadcasting provides educational and public affairs programming to Mississippians through its statewide television and radio network. MPB enhances the work of educators, students, parents and learners of all ages by providing informative programming and educational resources. MPB’s locally-produced programming focuses on the people, resources and attractions that reflect Mississippi’s unique culture and diverse heritage. Children’s television programs constitute a major portion of the daytime and weekend morning schedules. MPB provides a valuable resource to Mississippians in disseminating information as part of the state’s emergency preparedness and response system. Since 1970, MPB has won over 400 national, regional and statewide awards, including Emmy®, Edward R. Murrow and Parents’ Choice® Awards. For more information on MPB, its programs, mission or educational resources, please visit www.mpbonline.org.