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30 For 30 Doc 'Ghosts of Ole Miss' Explores Intersection Of Civil Rights & College Football History

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
October 24, 2012 1:58 PM
2 Comments
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In 1962, the University of Mississippi erupted in violence over integration while swelling with pride over an unbeaten football team.

Via press release from ESPN...

30 for 30 Continues with Ghosts of Ole Miss October 30 on ESPN Latest 30 for 30 documentary chronicles the 1962 Rebel football team’s undefeated season against the backdrop of the integration of the university

ESPN Films’ 30 for 30, presented by Buick Verano, will premiere Ghosts of Ole Miss on ESPN/ESPNHD on Tuesday, October 30, at 8 p.m. ET. The film, directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Fritz Mitchell, is told through the perspective of writer and Mississippi native Wright Thompson.

In the fall of 1962, on the eve of James Meredith becoming the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi, the campus erupted into a night of rioting between those opposed to the integration and those trying to enforce it. President Kennedy sent the US Army to Oxford to put an end to the violence and enforce Meredith’s rights as an American citizen, but the riot resulted in two deaths and many injuries.

Against this backdrop, the Ole Miss football team was in the early stages of what would prove to be an unprecedented season in school history. Ghosts of Ole Miss explores the intersection of the Rebel football team with this seminal event in the civil rights movement, including tumultuous events that not only continue to shape the state half a century later, but also led to Thompson’s discovery of a personal family connection to the story.

“Ghosts of Ole Miss will shed light on a significant time in our country’s civil rights history while weaving in a sports story not familiar to most,” said Connor Schell ESPN Films vice president and executive producer. “Fifty years later, the topic resonates with all Americans and we are proud to showcase such an important story as part of the 30 for 30 series.”

Ghosts of Ole Miss features personal interviews with James Meredith, former players on the 1962 football team and students who witnessed the riot.

“This story is very personal to me, and I appreciate the care Fritz Mitchell and his team put into getting it right,” said Wright Thompson. “I hope the powerful and important message of the film connects with both people who lived through the civil rights era and those for whom it is something that exists in history books.”

The remaining films for this slate of 30 for 30 documentaries will air as follows:

· Tuesday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m. – Ghosts of Ole Miss (Fritz Mitchell)

· Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 p.m. – You Don’t Know Bo (Michael Bonfiglio)

Each 30 for 30 film will be available on iTunes and Amazon.com the day after its television premiere. The 30 for 30 Film Favorites Collection, a new gift set including the most popular titles from ESPN Films, is now available on DVD. 30 for 30-related updates are available at www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and www.twitter.com/30for30.

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2 Comments

  • James Conway | December 8, 2012 7:18 PMReply

    50 years have passed. Yet this episode remains as powerful an indictment because we still have miles to go before we sleep. Young ones, please watch this because "Never Again". Never Again. We are so much better but we remain vigilant. That being said there are so many people of good will in America. Let's get together. God is Father of us all.

  • David Barnhizer | December 8, 2012 5:20 PMReply

    I spent (and continue) my life in civil rights and I have never seen a message with such power. I thank you for the gift of your portrayal because, unlike now, I actually thought they did all these things without extreme violence. STUPID ME! There are so many aspects, including our common humanity and ability to grow as humans--as demonstrated by the clips from the football team members and the future governor. There are various "tribes" but there is only a single race and this is central to the message that James Meredith sends. I wish I had met him but in the "biggest" picture there are many I wish I had been able to engage with and share their courage. Bottom line is this--we are one so stop playing "games" on ALL sides (because you probably can understand what BS means) and realize the challenges we face. Frankly, I am really tired of crap even thought that appears to be all our "leaders" can produce. Things are way more than that and have to be dealt with.

    David

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