Posted: December 10th, 2022
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Mississippi Burning is a searing movie about the events described in the book Murder in Mississippi. The movie is a dramatization of these events, not a documentary, and at times takes liberties with the actual facts although the general ideas about what happened in Mississippi is accurate. Movies are a powerful medium for communicating ideas and, while obviously a form of entertainment, they can nevertheless be a way for popular culture to inform us about our country, history and ourselves.
As you watch the movie take good notes. Your discussion board comments should discuss what you have learned from the film about law and equality as they relate to the themes in our course. Don’t just summarize the movie. Although your comments should include details from the movie, such as descriptions of particular scenes and dialogue, your comments should be in the context of ideas and details drawn from Murder in Mississippi, and the other resources about the events portrayed in the movie from the University of Missouri law school site noted in the earlier course announcement about this topic. One especially important aspect of the legal issues arising from these events is that Mississippi would’t bring murder charges against those apparently responsible for the crime. The federal government did seek indictments in federal court but not for murder since in most circumstances murder is a state, not a federal offence. Instead, two federal statutes were used that prohibit denying individuals their civil rights, one of which makes it a crime to use the “color of law” to deny rights. You should address these ideas in your discussion board posts.
These events are also discussed in Chapter V of The Strange Career of Jim Crow, especially pp 181-188. You should incorporate ideas from the book into your comments. Since this discussion forum extends over two weeks your comments should reflect your having taken the time to read, watch and think about the materials associated with the this assignment.
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