Classism, Racism, Slavery and Reconstruction: How Film “Free State of Jones” Complicates America’s Narrative and Empowers the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Laurean D. Robinson, MA

From this day forward we declare the land north of Pascagoula Swamp, south of enterprise and east to the Pearl River to the Alabama border, to be a FREE STATE OF JONES.

And as such we do hereby proclaim and affirm the following principles:

  1.  No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich;

  2.  No man ought to tell another man what you got to live for or what he’s got to die for;

  3.  What you put in the ground is yours to tend and harvest and there ain’t no man ought to be able to take that away from you;

  4.  Every man is a man. If you walk on two legs, you’re a man. It’s a simple as that.

Thus is the oral manifest delivered by Newton Knight to his makeshift band of 125 widowed/abandoned mothers, Confederate deserters and runaway slaves who make up the faction of resistance called “Knight Company” in the state of Mississippi founded in 1863.