The energy was high and the excitement palpable Thursday night at the Rialto Center for the Arts as the community gathered for a special preview screening of the American Experience documentary The Harvest.  Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas A. Blackmon looks back on his experience as a member of the first class of Black and white children to attend all 12 grades together in Leland, Mississippi, in the documentary film. The film, produced by Blackmon and Sam Pollard and executive produced by Cameo George, is a deeply personal depiction of one Southern town’s painful struggle to integrate its public schools and the continuing repercussions still felt more than 50 years later.

After the screening there was a discussion moderated by Dr. Clarissa Myrick-Harris, professor of Africana Studies at Morehouse College.  She and filmmaker Douglas Blackmon with film producer Sam Pollard engaged the audience in conversation to reflect on their personal experiences with integration.  It was a powerful evening that opens the door for more exploration. “This screening is only the beginning, as we, over the next year, will be uncovering more of Georgia’s desegregation stories,” said Georgia Humanities Vice President Kelly Caudle (see Georgia Humanities' schedule of events).

For more about the Douglas Blackmon, check out Peter Biello's interview with him (and find it among many great local stories in the Georgia Today podcast).  

The Harvest: Integrating Mississippi's Schools will premiere on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on GPB on Tuesday, September 12 at 9 p.m. It will also be available to stream online at  The broadcast is part of a special two-night event exploring the mixed legacy of school integration on PBS, and the PBS App. “The Harvest” will be preceded on PBS by the premiere of “The Busing Battleground” on Sept. 11.