Recently, I attended the National Première of
Free State of Jones, hosted by
Ambassador Andrew Young and the Andrew J. Young Foundation.
The film stars’ include Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey,
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali.
With Atlanta Singer/Reality Star/ Producer Kandi Burruss ( Image Right)
The evening brought out Atlanta’ s influencers and artists
to support film and meet Ambassador Young and
Oscar winning writer-director Gary Ross.
Ambassador Andrew Young and Gary Ross ( Image Right)
Free State of Jones is based on the little known, true story of a racially mixed,
anti-confederate insurgency that successfully fought the Confederacy.
Director Gary Ross did extensive research to write the script.
Ross even became a visiting fellow in American Civilization at Harvard University,
a position created specifically for him. In an interview before the film was shown,
he stressed how important he felt it was to be historically accurate.
He even joked repeatedly about making a film with footnotes and
repeatedly encouraged reporters and viewers to visit the film’s website for more information.
None of this should imply that this is a dull movie – it is not!
This is a riveting tale of rebellion, and passion, as well as a love story.
Free State of Jones tells of Newt Knight a medic in the Confederate
army who deserts after his young teenage nephew dies.
As a deserter, Newt is forced to leave his family and take refuge in the
swamps of Louisiana with runaway slaves.
Eventually, the angry and resourceful Knight leads an insurgency of runaway
slaves and yeoman farmers. The runaway slaves and farmers fight together to defeat the Confederacy
and drive out the hated slave-owners.
History has neglected the roll this mixed race rebellion against the Confederacy.
The divisions in the Civil War are most often portrayed as being a conflict of values
and interests between the North and the South. There has been little discussion of
the white farmers who resented having to defend the interests of wealthy slave owners.
This ambitious film continues into the Reconstruction Period when free black men had to fight
to exercise their right to vote. Blacks were often terrorised and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.
The role that former slaves played in securing their own hard won
freedom has been very limited.
Don’t miss this powerful historical drama with themes that still resonate today.
Life should sweet but you need work at it too.
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