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Hattiesburg residents view special screening of civil rights film

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Hattiesburg residents attend a special screening of the new documentary "Freedom Summer" at the Saenger Theater. Hattiesburg residents attend a special screening of the new documentary "Freedom Summer" at the Saenger Theater.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Some Hattiesburg-area residents have gotten a sneak peak at a new PBS documentary on the civil rights era, which features interviews with several Hub City residents. Freedom Summer will air on public television next month, but Thursday night, several dozen local residents watched a free screening of the film at the Saenger Theater.

It documents Mississippi Freedom Summer, which was an initiative in 1964 to register black citizens to vote.

Among those featured in the film is Dr. Anthony Harris, who attended a freedom school in Hattiesburg.

"What I really hope people take away from this is that Hattiesburg was right in the middle of the civil rights movement," Harris said. "This is a watershed period for the civil rights movement and Hattiesburg was a hot bed for the civil rights movement in the 60's," he said.

"We have heros right here in Hattiesburg that made some of the freedoms that we enjoy possible," said Latoya Norman, museum manager for the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. "It was definitely a struggle during that time," she said.

The screening was hosted by the Historic Eureka School, which is being renovated to house a Freedom Summer museum.

Next month, the City of Hattiesburg will host a three-day conference on Freedom Summer.

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