Screening of Documentary on Journalist Bill Minor Nov. 3 on Hattiesburg Campus

Screening of Documentary on Journalist Bill Minor Nov. 3 on Hattiesburg Campus

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

Screening of a new documentary on longtime Mississippi journalist Bill Minor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in room 108 of the Liberal Arts Building on The University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus. Admission is free.

"Eyes on Mississippi" looks at Minor's life and career, which began in 1947 and included coverage of the civil rights era in Mississippi for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The one-hour documentary was directed and produced by Ellen Ann Fentress, who will speak after the screening. A reception for Fentress will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building lobby.

Minor won Harvard University's Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism in 1966 and Columbia University's  John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism in 1997. At age 93, he is one of the country's oldest working journalists.

"The title 'Eyes on Mississippi' has two meanings," Ventress said. "True, it was the name of Minor's long-time weekly political column for the New Orleans Times Picayune, but it also was his strategy. Minor believed the fastest route to racial change in Mississippi was for the entire world to watch."

As he reported for the Times Picayune, he also quietly, without a byline, did crucial reporting for The New York Times and Newsweek, often the only journalist on the ground as history took place. The more eyes on Mississippi, the more pressure for transformation, he believed.

"What struck Minor at mid-century - a culture's subconscious obsession with the Civil War and the symbolism packed in the Confederate flag - has boomeranged back into the public conversation recently," Ventress said.

Also in the film are iconic civil-rights lawyer John Doar, New York Times journalist Claude Sitton, civil-rights leaders Myrlie Evers and Dr. Robert Smith, former Mississippi Gov. William Winter, Pultizer-Prize winner Hank Klibanoff and Times Picayune editor Jim Amoss. The 66-minute film, five years in the making, draws on vintage images and footage from 16 archives across the U.S.

Fentress co-wrote the documentary with Lida Gibson, who served as film editor. Financial support for the project came from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson and dozens of private supporters.

This event is sponsored by the University's School of Mass Communication and Journalism, Department of History and the Center for the Study of the Gulf South. For more information, contact Dr. David R. Davies, director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism, at dave.davies@usm.edu.