The Defenders to Show at the Two Mississippi Museums

On Thursday, February 24, at 7 p.m. MDAH will premiere The Defenders: How Lawyers Protected the Movement in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the Two Mississippi Museums. Presented by Butler Snow and the Foundation for Mississippi History, the documentary film was produced by Red Squared and MDAH.

The Defenders focuses on Mississippi lawyers who represented African Americans in the years leading up to and during the Civil Rights Movement. Few in number, and with limited resources, lawyers representing African Americans in Mississippi lost more cases than they won during the 1950s and 1960s. Though circumstances were difficult, hundreds of lawyers were inspired to work in Mississippi and transformed its legal infrastructure for future generations. Their work demanding equality of treatment under law for Black citizens also changed the nation.

"We knew when we opened the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in 2017 that there were stories we had not finished telling, including the story of the role of lawyers in the movement,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We are proud to join our partners and the lawyers themselves in highlighting this fascinating and critically important story.”

A question and answer panel will follow the premiere and feature former State Supreme Court Justice Reuben V. Anderson, former State Supreme Court Justice Fred Banks, attorney Martha Jane Bergmark, attorney Mel Leventhal, and director Roderick Red.

To view the official trailer for The Defenders click here.

For more information on The Defenders, call 601-576-6850 or email info@mdah.ms.gov.