In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over 10 memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation’s most segregated states — even in the face of intimidation, physical violence, and death.


“Freedom Summer” is the latest documentary from Stanley Nelson. He was kind of a big get for PBS, as they seemed to stop going after guys of his caliber and just started bankrolling everything that Ken Burns farted out. Over 10 weeks, members of everything from CORE to casual protestors went to Mississippi against a wave of threats and firebombings. Now, I’ll try to put something into perspective for people that aren’t familiar with the Southeast. There’s the border areas where I live (not really Midwest or South, just a dead zone). There’s Central to South Florida (tourism traps). Then, there’s everything from Appalachia to the Ozarks and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. So much anger, so much voting against your interests and just so much awful history.

I recently spent a great deal of time in Mississippi and I got to experience a lot of the hotspots showcased in the Freedom Summer documentary. It’s so weird to think that this happened roughly 50 years ago. But, the sites are there alongside a number of other reminders of the Dirty South’s troublesome past. I marched from the spot where Medgar Evers was assassinated to a Whataburger and I contemplated a lot of what I saw here vs. what the documentary covered. My thoughts remain. That Vanilla Milkshake and Onion Rings combo were badass.

The DVD comes with no special features. The A/V Quality is really strong for a documentary. Hell, the Dolby 2.0 track kept my subwoofer busy. The transfer was fair enough for standard definition. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to the curious.

RELEASE DATE: 06/24/2014

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