College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Partnership to Screen Films on America’s Civil Rights Struggle

Created Equal logoSeveral community and University of Mississippi entities are partnering to offer film screenings and discussions of four documentaries focusing on civil rights in America. Some of the events, which were postponed from February because of winter weather, are set for March 18.

The series of events is part of “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle,” an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history.

The University of Mississippi Libraries and Center for the Study of Southern Culture are partnering with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and the Oxford-Lafayette County Public Library to host the film screenings and discussions. NEH has partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop programmatic and support materials for the 473 sites across the nation selected to show the films.

Freedom Riders image

Freedom Riders

The university was awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. The powerful documentaries, “The Abolitionists,” “Slavery by Another Name,” “Freedom Riders” and “The Loving Story,” include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. “Freedom Riders” received an Emmy in 2012, and “The Loving Story” and “The Abolitionists” were nominated for Emmys in 2013.

Each of the films was produced with NEH support, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. Created Equal programs bring communities together to revisit our shared history and help bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American civic life. Visit for more information.

“These films chronicle the long and sometimes violent effort to achieve the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – for all Americans,” said Melissa Dennis, outreach librarian and grant recipient for the University Libraries.

Programming for the films is a collaborative effort between the University Libraries and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, which also received grant funding for the film series.

The “Created Equal” film set is made possible through a major grant from the NEH, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. All events are free and open to the public.

“Because of the grant from NEH, we are able to promote these films and programs that allow our community to discuss important issues of race and history,” said Becca Walton, associate director of projects and grant recipient for Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “The four ‘Created Equal’ films provide a vehicle to connect the stories of the long civil rights movement and the changing meanings of freedom and equality in U.S., the South, Mississippi and Oxford.”

The schedule of events for “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” over the next few months follows:

“Created Equal” film 1: “The Loving Story”

The moving account of Richard and Mildred Loving, arrested in 1958 for violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.

March 18

Noon-1 p.m., panel discussion: “Race and Space, Responses to ’The Loving Story,’” Faulkner Room, J.D. Williams Library.

Faculty and students will discuss the implications of race and the legal and cultural issues surrounding public and private environments. Light refreshments served. Panelists include Jennifer Stollman, instructor and academic director of racial reconciliation; Nathaniel Weathersby, journalism student and UM Pride Network president; and Michele Alexandre, associate professor of law. Moderated by Melody Frierson, youth project coordinator of the Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

7-8:30 p.m., film screening, J.D. Williams Library, Room 106D. Snacks provided.

“Created Equal” film two: “Freedom Riders”

The Freedom Ride of 1961 was a pivotal moment in the long civil rights struggle that redefined America.

April 7

6-8 p.m., film screening, Oxford-Lafayette County Public Library. Popcorn provided.

April 9

6-8 p.m. Join the discussion with a former Freedom Rider at Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics. Moderated by the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

More events and films will be scheduled for the fall semester, including programming around ”The Abolitionists” and ”Slavery by Another Name.” All events are free and open to the public. Community members, students, researchers and educators are all encouraged to attend. For assistance related to a disability contact Melissa Dennis at 662-915-5861 or

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of American history. Programs include publications, teacher seminars, a national Affiliate School Program, traveling exhibitions and online materials for teachers, students and the general public. For more information, go to

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, museum exhibitions and programs in libraries and other community places. For more information, go to