The short story, via the National Film Preservation Foundation, goes… during the Freedom Summer of 1964, actor Richard Beymer took a Bolex camera to Mississippi where he recorded the African American community working alongside his fellow activists and volunteers to register black voters and provide educational instruction to children.
Titled “A Regular Bouquet: Mississippi Summer” and filmed in a rich black and white, Beymer’s film documents a turbulent moment in American history, capturing the trials and triumphs of the struggle, making a hopeful case for a new day in America as white and black worked in unison, canvassing for voter registration, created Freedom Schools, and established the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, with the goal of challenging the segregationist state Democratic Party at the national convention in Atlantic City. The campaign was marked by sustained and deadly violence, including the notorious murders of three civil rights workers, countless beatings, the burning of 35 churches and the bombing of 70 homes and Freedom Houses.
Nadia Ghasedi, who leads the Visual Media Research Lab at Washington University, writes that the film is a “rare and historically significant primary source depictions of segregated Mississippi against the backdrop of violent opposition.”
The film has been preserved by the Washington University Film & Media Archive with a grant from the NFPF.
I’ve been informed that the NFPF is presenting “A Regular Bouquet” (the original 44-minute version) in its online screening room as of today. It’s not embeddable, so you’ll have to head over to their online screening room to watch the film there: http://www.filmpreservation.org/preserved-films/screening-room/a-regular-bouquet-1964.
Consider it a companion piece to Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s 2014 feature documentary “Freedom Summer” which chronicles the events during the violent and bloody summer of 1964 in Mississippi known as the Freedom Summer, when hundreds of student volunteers in league with local and national activists and organizers worked to push for voting rights, to bring down the racist segregationists policies and foundations of white supremacy in the nation’s most segregated state.
It aired on PBS’ American Experience series during the summer of 2014 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the event. And it’s available on various home video platforms.