The civil rights movement of the 1960’s is the center of attention in the southern United States.Racism and segregation are still a way of life in Jessup County, Mississippi. The disappearance of three civil rights workers, who are sent to Jessup during the “Freedom Summer Project” in 1964, causes a huge investigation. The disappearance of the activists, the ignorance of the townspeople and the horrible methods used by the police and the Ku Klux Klan, brings the F.B.I. in to investigate. The movie shows how morally wrong the southern judicial system really is.
In 1964, three civil rights workers are in the small Mississippi town as part of “CORE”. The goal of the organization, “Congress on Racial Equality”, is to set up booths in small towns for the local black community to register for voting rights. The KKK burns down the church where the registration is supposed to be held in Jessup. As a result, the three volunteers, who are in town to set this up, try to leave town. They are followed by the KKK. The Klan kills them and hides their bodies. “Whoa, shit! We into it now, boys. You only left me a nigger, but at least I shot me a nigger. Yes, indeed”. (Parker, Mississippi Burning) The KKK did this so the black people of the town would not have rights or a vote of their own like all white people. When the three activists turn up missing in Jessup, the F.B.I. is called to investigate their suspicious disappearance. The mayor states: “Fact is, we got two cultures down here: a white culture, and a colored culture. Now, that’s the way it always has been, and that’s the way it always will be.” (Parker, Mississippi Burning) . The two white F.B.I. agents that come to Mississippi to investigate are from two very different cultures. The agents do not believe that the three activists are missing. They think they are dead. The people, specifically the Ku Klux Klan, do not like having the F.B.I. interfere in their business.
At this point, the F.B.I. agents start approaching the citizens to find any evidence surrounding the disappearances. Alan Ward is not aware of how things work in the south since he is from a tolerant northern state. Rupert Anderson, on the other hand. is Mississippi born and raised. As they are waiting for their lunch in the local diner: “Uh, Mr. Ward... That's coloured down there. Don't even think about it”.(Parker, Mississippi Burning) Ward asks a local, “Do you mind if I ask some questions. I am looking for some information”. (Parker, Mississippi Burning) A local black man answers, “I ain’t got nothin’ to say to you sir”. (Parker, Mississippi Burning) The man gets up and walks away. Ward has no idea how badly the southerners treat the black people when he sits right down next to them. The black man knows that talking to Ward will lead to trouble.
Get your ass back here,
you fuckin' nigger!
We better not catch you talkin' to the...