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10/19/2015

Documentary casts an “Eye” on Mississippi history

MISS. STATE, MS – The Mississippi State University Libraries is sponsoring a screening of the new documentary “Bill Minor: Eyes on Mississippi,” which sheds light on the historic career of veteran journalist Bill Minor, on Tuesday, October 27 at 2 p.m. in the John Grisham Room in Mitchell Memorial Library.

The one-hour film covers key moments in Civil Rights history from Minor’s first-hand perspective. Minor was the New Orleans Times-Picayune Mississippi correspondent throughout the Civil Rights era. He contributed frequently to The New York Times, Newsweek and other national outlets and covered controversial issues of racial inequality in an era when most Southern journalists would not touch them. Minor worked for the Times-Picayune from 1947 until 1976, when the newspaper closed its Mississippi office. He then purchased a weekly newspaper, The Capitol Reporter, where he continued investigative reporting that sometimes cost him advertising dollars and threatened his personal safety.

Minor’s newspaper proved unprofitable, and he had to shut it down after six years. However, he continued writing his "Eyes On Mississippi" column. At 93, Minor still covers the state politics and other topics of interest, and his syndicated political column appears in a number of Mississippi newspapers.

Appearing in the film are Justice Department attorney John Doar, New York Times civil rights journalist Claude Sitton, Myrlie Evers, Jackson physician Robert Smith, former Gov. William Winter, Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss and Pulitzer Prize winner Hank Klibanoff. The film features photos and news footage from 15 U.S. Archives.

Director and Producer Ellen Ann Fentress, with Lida Gibson as film editor and co-writer, finished “Eyes on Mississippi” after five years of production. Support for the production came from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and private donors who admire Minor’s work.

According to Fred Smith, MSU Libraries Rare Book Coordinator “Bill Minor has been covering Mississippi politics since the death of Theodore Bilbo. His coverage of politics and the Civil Rights era was often viewed as controversial, but it was always fair and accurate. Bill Minor’s exceptional collection of papers and artifacts are an important part of the extensive and nationally significant journalism collection housed in Special Collections in Mitchell Memorial Library at Mississippi State University.”

Bill Minor as well as director, producer Ellen Ann Fentress will attend the screening and be a part of the program.

If you need additional information or require special assistance relating to a disability, please contact Lynda Graham at 662-325-6634 or lgraham@library.msstate.edu.

About MSU Libraries:

Mississippi State University Libraries is a premier research library providing its communities of users an ongoing, creative, technologically advanced library program that provides new and emerging technologies; enhances and inspires teaching, research, and service of the highest caliber in an environment of free and open inquiry and with a commitment to excellence. For more information about MSU Libraries, please visit http://library.msstate.edu/ .

MSU, Mississippi's flagship research university, is online at www.msstate.edu.