Counter Histories

Film. Produced by John T. Edge and the Southern Foodways Alliance; directed by Kate Medley.
Five short films that document the civil disobedience staged at segregated lunch counters in the 1950s and 60s.

Time Periods: 20th Century, 1945, 1961
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity

counterhistoriesCounter Histories is a stunning website on the lunch counter sit-ins, bringing the history to life with historic film clips, interviews with movement veterans and historians, and timelines.

Counter Histories encourages viewers to think beyond the demonstrations of the 1950s and 1960s. Visitors see and hear protesters talk about how their actions set the stage for a relatively integrated Southern present.

Historians ground these events in the broader Civil Rights Movement. Activists talk, fifty years later, talk about how they leveraged moral authority to practice nonviolence and achieve desegregation.

counterstories_filmsEach of the five films in Counter Histories tells the story of a lunch counter sit-in in one Southern city or town: Jackson, Mississippi (clip below); Nashville, Tennessee; Rock Hill, South Carolina; Durham, North Carolina; and Cambridge, Maryland (clip below). The events featured in these films took place between 1957 and 1963. [Website’s description.]

Short Documentaries

Here are two of the five short films from the Counter Histories website.

Counter Histories: Jackson, Mississippi from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

Counter Histories: Cambridge, Maryland from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

Produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance with Kate Medley.

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