Mississippi Burning Script - Dialogue Transcript

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.  This script is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of Mississippi Burning. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and I'll be eternally tweaking it, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. You won't hurt my feelings. Honest.

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Mississippi Burning Script



  Precious Lord



  Take my hand



  Lead me on



  Let me stand



  I am tired



  I am weak



  I am worn



  Through the storm



  Through the night



  Lead me on



  Through the night



  Take my hand



  Precious Lord



  And lead



  Me home



  Take my hand



  Precious Lord



  And lead



  Me home






What is it?



- What do they want?

- I don't know.



Just pass me. Pass me.



- Is it a cop?

- I can't see.



- What the fuck are they playin' at?

- They ain't playin'. You better believe it.



- What are we gonna do?

- I don't know.



OK. Hold on, you guys.



There's a truck too.



Shit. It is a cop.



You better stop.



OK. Sit tight, you guys.

Don't say anything. Let me talk.



All right? We'll be all right. Just relax.



Y'all think you can drive

any speed you want around here?



You had us scared to death, man.



- Don't you call me "man", Jew-boy.

- No, sir. What should I call you?



You don't call me nothin',

nigger-lovin' Jew-boy. You just listen.



Yes, sir.



Hell, you even startin' to smell

like a nigger, Jew-boy.



- Take it easy. We'll be all right.

- Sure you will, nigger-Iover.



He's seen your face. That ain't good.

You don't want him seein' your face.



Oh, it don't make no difference no more.



Whoa, shit! We into it now, boys.



You only left me a nigger,

but at least I shot me a nigger.



Yes, indeed.



  Now listen,

you communists and niggers and Jews



  Tell all your buddies to spread the news



  Your Day of Judgment will soon be nigh



  As the Lord in his wisdom

looks down from on high



  Will his battle be lost

by mixin' the races?



  We want beautiful babies,

not ones with brown faces



  Never, never, never, I say



  For the Ku Klux Klan is here to stay



  Never, never, never, I say



  Cos the Ku Klux Klan is here to stay



These Ku Kluxers are better

with lynchings than with lyrics.



Just read the file, Mr Anderson.

I can do without the cabaret.



- You don't like me much, do you, boss?

- Sure I like you.



I just don't share your sense of humour.



Sometimes that's all you got left.



- How long you been in the Bureau?

- Three years.



- Right outta college, huh?

- No. From the Justice Department.



Kennedy boy. Now I see.



No. I don't think you do see.



Let's get this thing straight.



I haven't had a pimple in years.

I shave every morning.



I even go to the bathroom by myself.

So you can quit this "boss" stuff.



I'm in charge because

I've been through this before.



- Birmingham? Montgomery?

- Oxford. I was with Meredith at Old Miss.



Oh. You got hit in the head with a brick,

so they gave you a promotion.



No. Shot in the shoulder.



- Well, at least you lived. That's important.

- Meredith lived. That's what's important.



What's got four eyes and can't see?



- What?

- Mississippi.



  Never, never, never, I say



  Cos the Ku Klux Klan is here to...



- Big building for a small town.

- Yeah.






Good morning. My name's Alan Ward.



I'm with the FBI.



Federal Bureau of Integration?



- In that get-up, you ain't undercover.

- We're here to see Sheriff Stuckey.



Sheriff's right busy now.



You'll have to wait

or come back some other time.



We'll wait.



Listen to me,

you backwoods shit-ass, you.



You got two seconds to get the sheriff out

here or I'll kick the goddamn door in. OK?



Well, hell.

Looks like we got some company.



Some Hoover boys come down to visit.



- How ya doin'?

- Good.



- I'm Sheriff Stuckey.

- Rupert Anderson.



Rupert, we've been expectin' you.



- I assume you met my deputy, Mr Pell.

- Sure did.



You down here to help us

solve our nigger problems?



No. It's just a missing-person case.



Well, come on.



- You gonna want your boy in on this?

- Sheriff...



I'm Special Agent Ward

and I'm in charge of this case.



We think it might be a little

more serious than missing persons.



I don't think so, boy.

Know what I think it is?



It's a publicity stunt cooked up

by that Martin Luther King fella.



Come on.



At around  pm, Deputy Pell says

he arrested the three boys for speeding.



He held them in jail until   pm

and then released them.



They drove off. He says he followed them

as far as the county line...



...and never saw them again.



Why didn't they make a phone call?



- Why should they?

- These boys were trained activists.



They're taught to check in every hour and,

if arrested, the moment they're released.



The hotel is near the jail. They could've

phoned from the lobby. It doesn't follow.



- Maybe they had a beer.

- Not these boys.



The civil rights office in Rossville started

making calls when they didn't check in.



The sheriff's office here said

they had no idea where the boys were.



First lie.



By who?

Sheriff's office or civil rights office?



Who would you believe?



Mr Ward, I was a sheriff in a little

Mississippi town just like this.



- Yes, I'm aware of that.

- Well, lyin' just don't come into it.



We were ten miles from Memphis,

a million miles from the rest of the worid.



If a sheriff in a town like this says that's

what happened, that's what happened.



Let's go eat.



We're full up, honey.

Y'all wanna wait a while?



- Is the wait worth it?

- We're not full for nothin', sugar.



Y'all wanna look at a menu

while you wait?



Thank you.



Well, what y'all gonna do? Wait or leave?



We're gonna wait

cos we wanna be near you.



- There are some empty seats down there.

- Uh, Mr Ward...



That's coloured down there.

Don't even think about it.



- People here are gettin' ready to leave.

- Aren't you hungry, Mr Anderson?



Good afternoon. Looks good.



Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?



I'm looking for some information.



- I ain't got nothin' to say to you, sir.

- Just a few questions.



I ain't got nothin' to say to you, sir.



The civil rights boys came to propose

setting up a voter registration clinic.



Before the locals got a chance to say yes,

the Klan burned 'em down.



- You give a man a vote but he can't use it.

- Yeah, that's the way it works.



What did their office in Rossville say?



That the boys came back here

to apologise to the congregation.



"Sorry you folks didn't get to vote."



"I suppose most of you

never knew you even had one."



"Now you got no place to go on Sunday."



Apparently, after they came back here,

they talked to some locals down the road.



- I think that's where we should start.

- Oh, they won't talk to you.



These people have to live here

long after we're gone.



They'd rather bite their tongue off

than talk to us.



Bureau procedure, Mr Anderson.



The church caught fire

and you ran home. Is that correct?



Yes, sir.



And then the four white men

stopped you?



Yes, sir.



And these four white men

attacked your husband?



Yes, sir.



But you can't identify them.



No, sir.



Did you report this to the police?



No, sir.



But you told the civil rights boys

what happened?



Yes, sir.



Ma'am, did they tell you

where they were going after that?



- No, sir.

- Nothing?



No, sir.



All right. Thank you, ma'am.



You're welcome.



- Come on, boy.

- Open up.



- Your brother Hollis here, Fennis?

- Yes, sir.



Well, wake his ass up. We wanna see him.



- Why?

- Just wake him up, boy.



- What is it?

- There you are, nigger trash!



Come here, boy!



Hollis! Hollis!



Get your ass back here,

you fuckin' nigger!



Hollis! Hollis!



We better not catch you talkin' to the FBI.



Or you'll be dead, boy. Real dead.



You admire these kids, don't you?



Don't you?



I think they're bein' used.



They're sent here in their

Volkswagens and sneakers...



...just to get their heads cracked open.



Did it ever occur to you that maybe

they believed in what they were doing?



- Did it occur to them they'd end up dead?

- Maybe.



In Washington they sure as hell knew,

didn't they?



Some things are worth dying for.



Well, down here

they see things a little differently.



People down here feel

some things are worth killin' for.



Where does it come from, all this hatred?



You know, when I was a little boy...



...there was an old Negro farmer lived

down the road from us, name of Monroe.



And he was... Well, I guess he was just

a little luckier than my daddy was.



He bought himself a mule.



That was a big deal around that town.



My daddy hated that mule.



His friends kidded him that they saw

Monroe ploughin' with his new mule...



...and Monroe was gonna rent

another field now that he had a mule.



One morning that mule

just showed up dead.



They poisoned the water.



After that there was never any mention

about that mule around my daddy.



One time we were drivin' past

Monroe's place and we saw it was empty.



He'd just packed up and left, I guess.

Gone up North or somethin'.



I looked over at my daddy's face...



...and I knew he'd done it.



And he saw that I knew.



He was ashamed.



I guess he was ashamed.



He looked at me and he said...



..."If you ain't better than a nigger,

son, who are you better than?"



Do you think that's an excuse?



No, it's not an excuse.

It's just a story about my daddy.



Where does that leave you?



With an old man who was so full of hate...



...that he didn't know that

bein' poor was what was killin' him.



Get the light! Get the light!



You all right?



I guess they know we're here.



Now you know what you're gettin' into.



I'm gonna call Washington.

I need more agents.



Would it change your mind if I say

that's exactly the wrong thing to do?






The whole place for    a month.

It's private. It's central. It's perfect.



There's room for a hundred more agents.



Two hundred, maybe.

More in the balcony.



We're just trying to find the three boys,

Mr Anderson.



I'll take all the help I can get.



When's the show start?



- Who's the big shot?

- It's the Klan.



No pointy hats but plenty of pointy heads.



Let me run a check on the plates.



Good afternoon, gentlemen.




Say hello to our mayor, Mr Tilman here.



- How do you do, Anderson?

- Mr Mayor. Mr Barber.



Well, this looks like the place to be.

Even for me.



Yep. Nothin' like a barbershop

for jawin' your socks off.



Where you from, Anderson?



Thornton, Mississippi, sir.

Just a spit from Tennessee.



Well, then you must know

how we all feel down here.



We don't take to outsiders

tellin' us how to live our lives.



And I'm here to tell ya,

our nigras were happy...



...till those beatnik college kids

came down here stirrin' things up.



Before that, there wasn't

anybody complainin'.



Nobody dared.



We got a real peaceful

community down here, Anderson.



Course, they're just like any other folks,

I reckon, when you push 'em too far.



The way I figure it,

it's like three sticks of old dynamite.



You shake it up... and we're gonna

be scrapin' bodies off the street.



I'm just here to investigate the missing

three kids, ask some questions.



If this all boiled down to gravy...



...there wouldn't be enough

to cover a chicken-fried steak.



Them kids you're lookin' for? I'd bet you a

shiny new dime they're in Chicago now...



...drinkin' a cold beer and havin' a laugh

about the commotion they stirred up here.



Well, I sure hope so.



You can tell your bosses people got

the wrong idea about the South.



You know what I'm talkin' about.



Everybody runnin' around ragged,

backwards and illiterate...



...eatin' sowbelly and corn pone

three times a day.



Simple fact is, Anderson,

we got two cultures down here.



White culture and a coloured culture.



That's the way it always has been.

That's the way it always will be.



- The rest of America don't see it that way.

- The rest of America don't mean jack shit.



You in Mississippi now.



Oh, that's for sure!



- What's the score, Mr Barber?

- St Louis on top, five to nothing.



- What inning is it?

- Bottom of the seventh.



- You like baseball, Anderson?

- Yeah, I do. You know...



...it's the only time when a black man

can wave a stick at a white man...



...and not start a riot.






We checked on the plate, sir.

Clayton Townley.



Townley. Grand Wizard of

the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.



That's him. And we have a lead on the car.



A Choctaw on the reservation

thinks he knows where it is.






You have an appointment next Tuesday?



I'll see you then. Bye-bye.



Afternoon, ladies.



- Can I help you?

- Well, yes, you can.



I tell you, I just...

I hate the way I look. You know?



What do you think? A permanent wave,

maybe? Or a bleach job?



- That looks good. Was it done in here?

- No. Jackson.



A wig's your only hope, hon. You won't

be able to do much with that cue ball.



If you wanna ask us some questions,

this is where you'll hear it all.



Yeah, matter of fact, I do.



I was wonderin' who that gentleman was

that just drove in over there.



- I know that isn't President Johnson.

- His name's Townley. Clayton Townley.



- Are you one of them FBI gentlemen?

- Yes, ma'am, I am.



Well, I think it's a shame if those two kids

are dead. But I sure hope you find 'em.



Thank you. Actually, three kids are

missin'. There's a coloured kid also.



Do you think your people'd be down here

if it weren't for those two white boys?



- Maybe not, miss.

- Mrs.



Pell. Her old man's Ray Stuckey's deputy.



But I'm single.



Move out of the way.



Move over, boy.

We'll take care of this. It's a local problem.



We'll handle this.

We don't need your damn help.



It ain't right havin' blood on Main Street.

How'd that look on the TV news?



- Get up.

- OK, I got him. I got him.



He's the kid from the diner.



Think twice before you talk to

coloured kids with an audience.



They're sending a message from

the boss in Tupelo, and you know it.



I know it, yes. Clayton Townley,

chief pointy head.



Yeah, that's right. How did you know?



Bureau procedure, Mr Ward.

Try it sometime.



We did.



We found the car the kids were driving.



Good morning.



Good morning.



Two beer cans, a Coca-Cola bottle,

a green plastic bottle...



...a badly burned wristwatch stopped

at   .   and a set of keys. No bodies.



- I want the area searched. Every inch.

- Yes, sir.



- It's a big swamp.

- Every inch, Mr Bird.



I guess they never left Mississippi.



They're dead. They're dead.



Mr Bird?



- Yes, sir?

- There's a telephone at the truck stop.



Get to it, get on it, and get me

a hundred more men here by morning.



- A hundred?

- A hundred.



- Bureau people, sir?

- I don't care if it's the army!



- I want this entire swamp searched!

- Yes, sir.



Don't do it, Mr Ward.



- You'll just start a war.

- It was a war long before we got here.



Get the fuck outta here now!






The sheriff's alibi is solid. He was playing

poker with his wife's brother and cousins.



- The whole time?

- For three hours. He lost $  .  .



There's something else. We're having

a little trouble with the motel manager.



- What kind of trouble?

- He wants us out. We're bad for business.



Buy it.



- Sorry, sir?

- Buy it!



The motel.



- How high can I go?

- Whatever it takes.



Today in Jessup County, Mississippi...



...amidst the violence of this week,

the eyes of the nation...



...are fixed on the search

for the missing civil rights workers.



I think it's all a big hoax. But if they

are in that swamp, then they asked for it.



Naval reserves have joined FBI

agents in searching for the missing men.



I think they planned it. They're sittin' up in

New York laughin' at us Mississippi folks.



- You think it's a hoax?

- A big hoax. They gonna find nothin'.



Civil rights leaders are optimistic

as to the young men's whereabouts.



But privately there is mounting concern

that they will ever be found alive.



They came lookin' for trouble

and found it.



This is Marek Baribobi, Network News,

Jessup County, Mississippi.



Tell you what I think they oughta be doin'.

Lookin' up in Canada for them boys...



...instead of our swamps around here.



I'll tell you somethin' else. I think it's

a stunt dreamed up by NAAC people.



- NAAC people?




Know what it stands for? Niggers,

Alligators, Apes, Coons and Possums.



Tell you what you got.

You got your NAACP.



You got your SNCC. You got your COFO.



You know what all that mess is?




You got it?



One day we won't have to say

"Good morning, sir, Mr Sheriff."



Maybe there'll come a time when

we won't have to say "Mr Stuckey".



One day there'll come a time when

we'll just say "Stuckey" or "Sheriff".



And one day there'll come a time when

the sheriff won't even be a white man.






I wonder if I could ask you

a few questions.



I don't suppose you could tell me

what kind of flower these are, could you?



I been seein' 'em

all over the place here and...



Never saw such a darn pretty plant.



They're trumpet-pitchers.






They're beautiful. They really are.



They don't smell so good

but they're pretty.



It's nice talkin' to you.



Sorry about interruptin' your meeting

but we can't get anybody to talk to us.



They zip up, like my momma used to say.



People don't wanna talk to you because

they're afraid it'll get back to the law.



- We are the law.

- Not around here you ain't.



We came to find out what happened to

those boys. They were here to help you.



- It ain't coloured folks you should talk to.

- Who should we talk to?



Come on, Aaron.



You should start with the sheriff's office.



- Why aren't you afraid?

- How come you ain't?






Aaron, come on, son.



Here's the pitch. Swing and a line-drive

base hit. Another run is home.



On to the next pitch by the ruffled

Bob Gibson. He is upset.



Ron Hunt singled to centre.

Hickman passed third...



... and scored the Mets' second run.



Hunt holds on at first,

and the Mets lead two to one.



Good evening, Mrs Pell. I'm Agent Ward.

This is Agent Anderson.



We're with the FBI.



Is your husband home?



We'd like to have a word with him.



Y'all come in, then.



It's the FBI gentlemen, Clinton. They

wanna ask you some more questions.



You want me to put

your dinner in the oven?



Leave us alone.



Mind if I take a seat?



What's so goddamn important

you got to bother me at home?



I just wanted to run through once again

your movements on June   st.



June which?



June   st.



Deputy, we both know what day we're

talking about, so let's do this civilised.



Then you get back to your ball game

and we can get back to Washington.



Please, don't let me interrupt you.



It's just when you've heard a question

a dozen times, it gets kinda boring.



Yeah, I guess so.



- You don't eat together?

- He works funny hours.



- You think that's odd?

- No.



No, I work funny hours myself.



I eat when I'm hungry.

He eats when he can.



- Can I get you somethin'?

- No, no. Thanks.



This is a nice house.



- How long have you lived here?

- I was born here.



But my father lost the house

in a poker game a long time ago.



We've been payin' rent ever since.



It's a wicked game.









Mr Anderson?



It's nice talkin' to you. Guess I gotta go.



Them pork chops still any good, honey?

Bring me a beer.



Good night.



Let you get back to your baseball.



They say it's the only game

where a black man can wave a stick...



I know. I already heard that one.



Fifty minutes of his alibi

hinges on his wife.



- You talked to her. What's she like?

- She's a nice lady.



Tell me, Mr Anderson.

How does a woman like that end up with...



With shithead in there? You know

what these small towns are like.



A girl spends all her time in high school

lookin' for the guy she's gonna marry...



...and spends the rest

of her life wonderin' why.



Something's wrong. He's too confident.



- Did you see the wedding photograph?

- No.



His three pals, the ushers,

had their thumbs hooked in their belts...



...with their three fingers pointing down.



So what is that?

Some sort of Masonic thing?



No! KKK.



I know you ain't drunk.



- I'm not drunk.

- All right. You ain't drunk.



I'm just gonna take you

where you can sleep it off.



All right. Hold up.



Watch your head.



Hi. Uh... There was a couple of things

I needed to check with you.



- My husband's not here.

- Actually, it was you I wanted to talk to.






OK. You'd better come in, then.



Just take a minute.



My boss, he's kind of a pain.

A college kid.



He has to dot all the i's

and cross all the t's.



- What is it you wanted to ask me about?

- It's a time thing we're not so clear about.



Should I put your flowers

in some water while you're here?



Yeah. Actually they're for you.



They're beautiful.



They are pretty, aren't they?



They don't smell so nice

but they're pretty.



Can I get you anything? Some tea?



Yeah. Thanks.



Oh, don't you look at that.

It's a terrible photo.



Oh, I don't know about that.



- Is this recent?

- No. I wish.



Well... this here looks recent to me.



We were married    years ago.



Are you kidding me? No! Come on.



- You take sugar?

- Sure do.



- You know, I grew up in a town like this.

- You were smart enough to leave.



Why didn't you?



"For better or for worse."



How about you? Are you married?



Well, I was, as I remember.



It didn't last very long. I was never home.



I guess she got fed up with... phone calls

from Miami, postcards from Des Moines.



There was always a guy around.



Any guy that could spare the time

for a movie or a beer...



...or a quarter for the jukebox.



She left.



- How about you?

- Well, you know the South, Mr Anderson.



You leave high school and marry

the first boy who makes you laugh.



Hey, your husband's quite a guy.



You know, my boss has this thing

about an hour -    minutes, to be exact -



...that your husband says

that he was with you.



- And I guess he was.

- Guess he was.



Well, that's a pity.



That means that I don't have an excuse

for hangin' around here any more.






Thank you for the iced tea.



- Thank you for the flowers.

- Sure.



Do you know what kind they are?



- I heard they're called trumpet-pitchers.

- Oh, that's right.



My daddy used to call 'em

ladies-from-hell because they're carn...






- That's the word?

- Yeah.



That pretty colour's the bait. Insects just

home in there and wham, they're dead...



...even before they got their shoes off.



Maybe I should've picked something else.






  Sing the wondrous love of Jesus



  Sing his mercy and his grace



  In the mansions, bright and blessed



  He'll prepare for us a place



-  ... day of rejoicing that will be

-   That will be



  When we all see Jesus



  We'll sing and shout the victory



May the peace and the joy

in the Holy Ghost abide with all of you...



...for now and for ever. Amen.



  When we all



  Get to heaven



  What a day of rejoicing



  That will be



  When we all



  See Jesus, Jesus



  We'll sing and shout



  The victory



You already been told once, nigger.

We don't wanna have to tell you again.



You make any more trouble by flappin'

them boot-lips off to them federal men...



...we'll sure as hell put you in the ground,

boy, and that's without a pine box!



You understand me?



How are Negroes treated in Mississippi?



They're treated about fair.

About as good as they oughta be.



The niggers around here have been

treated awful bad for a long time.



I think Martin Luther King's

one of the leaders.



I mean, J Edgar Hoover said

that he was a communist...



...and they had proof to that effect.



But I don't know that for sure. I hadn't

seen it myself, but that's what they say.



Hey, you really wanna find that nigger?



They say we've got to eat together and

use the same bathroom as the niggers.



And that's awful hard

for some Mississippi folks to do.



They're not like us. They don't take baths.

They stink, they... they're nasty...



...they're just not like white folks.



What do you think has happened

to the three boys?






Just as dead as they can be.



It feels so good.



- Is she asleep? Is she?

- Yeah.



Oh, my Lord. I'm sorry I woke you up.



- Bye, hon. I'll be a couple of hours.

- All right.



Well, Mary, is that your Betsy's kid?




She's growin' up real quick, ain't she?



Tuesday'll be just fine on those, Mary.






Their kids are so cute.



Is that thing back on me again?



If the entire Secret Service

couldn't protect the president...



...how in hell are we supposed

to protect a few nigras?



It ain't nothin' but a bunch of lowlife white

trash drinkin' too much cheap alcohol.



More like paint thinner and snake juice,

because this state's as dry as a martini...



...and we got the alcoholics to prove it.



Give me a little room here.

Excuse me, Bob.



- Is this OK?

- Your name, please?



Clayton Townley. Local businessman.



Are you, sir, a spokesman for

the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan?



I told you. I'm a businessman.



I'm also a Mississippian.

And an American.



And I am sick and tired

of the way many of us Mississippians...



...are havin' our views distorted

by your newspapers and on TV.



So let's get this straight.



We do not accept Jews

because they reject Christ.



Their control of the international banking

cartels are at the root of communism.



We do not accept Papists

because they bow to a Roman dictator.



We do not accept Turks, Mongols,

Tartars, Orientals nor Negroes...



...because we're here to protect

Anglo-Saxon democracy...



...and the American way.

- Thank you, sir.



Lefty, you are livin' proof

that cousins shouldn't fuck.



What I was tryin' to say...

there's this coloured boy.



He wants to play football

for Bear Bryant over at Alabama.



So Bear says

"I'm gonna give you a tryout."



What's he gonna run with? A watermelon?



He's gonna keep on runnin' too.



"OK, boy" he says.

"You get down there on one goal line."



He puts a whole team on the other goal

line. He throws the boy the ball and says...



- Are you open?

- You got to be a member to drink here.



A member?



A member of what?



A member of the social club.



I thought you'd just buy me a beer.



Give him a beer, Frank.



Nice to be back in a dry county again.



When I was sheriff,

half of my take-home pay...



...was from collectin' taxes

on illegal jukes like this.



Probably works the same here.



I would think you'd haul in a tidy penny

here, winkin' at the bootleggers.



I wouldn't know nothin' about that.



Yeah... A tidy penny.



- Got anything stronger than this, Deputy?

- No. No, we ain't.






You know, in Thornton, Mississippi,

there's a joy-juice still in every yard.



All you need is just some corn

and sugar and a pot to boil it in.



I was tryin' to fingerprint

this old boy once.



He'd had his hand

in the mash barrel all his life.



There was no skin at all on there.

No prints.



We ain't interested in your

good ol' Mississippi boy stories.



You ain't from here no more.



- Why'd you leave, anyway?

- I just wanted a change of scenery.



The grits started leavin'

a bad taste in my mouth.



Well, if that's how you feel about it,

Mr FBI Man...



...why don't you get back to your commie,

nigger-lovin' bosses up North?



You must not know my boss - Mr Hoover.



He's not too fond of commies.

He'd be on your side there.



I don't give two shits whose side

your Mr Hoover's on, boy.



All I know is we got      niggers in this

county who ain't registered to vote yet.



And, as far as I'm concerned,

they never will.



So tell your stiff suits up in Washington,

DC, they ain't gonna change us one bit.



Unless it's over my dead body.

Or a lot of dead niggers.



You'd kill, Frank?

Is that what you're sayin'?



I wouldn't give it no more thought

than wringin' a cat's neck.



And there ain't a court in Mississippi

that'd convict me for it.



How about you, Deputy?



- How are you with wringin' necks, huh?

- Just keep pushin' me, Hoover boy.



You get this straight, you cornhole fucker.



Tell your queer-ass bosses they'll never

find them civil rightsters down here.



So you might as well pack your bags

and head up North where you belong.



You get this straight, shitkicker.



Don't you go mistakin' me

for some whole other body.



Your brain's in your dick

if you think we'll just fade away.



We're gonna be here

till this thing's finished.



How about you, Deputy?



Is that gun just for show?



Or do you get to shoot people

once in a while?



Thanks for the beer.



Ask them if they want to help save this

country from the onslaught of integration.



You know the system: They want to throw

white children and coloured children...



... into the melting pot of integration...



... out of which will come a conglomerated,

mulatto, mongrel class of people!



Both races will be destroyed

in such a movement.



I, for one, under God will die

before I'll yield one inch...



... to that kind of a movement in America.



Do you know the trouble you've caused?



They've been on the radio all day,

talkin' about FBI intimidation.



We're not thugs, Mr Anderson.

We're gonna do this thing my way.



- I know. Bureau procedure.

- Why were you at the beauty parlour?



If that was Bureau business, I wanna

know about it. If not, I won't allow it.



- Do you understand me?!

- Get in here!



You know your problem? You don't know

when to speak and when to shut up!



That makes you a fool!



Mrs Pell won't say anything

her husband doesn't want her to.



And I'm not gonna choke it out of her!



This can of worms

only opens from the inside.



I know that.



Freedom! Freedom!



White nigger!



White niggers!



Hurry up! Hurry up!



Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!






Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!



  Bring him



  Your burdens



  Seek not his favour



  Tell... tell him your sorrows



- Hi.

- Hey, now!



Just passin' by. Just sayin' hello.

You're not out watchin' the parade?



How come you don't ask me questions?

Everybody's been talked to 'cept me.



Why don't you send some of them

good-Iookin' FBI boys to talk to me?



Sorry about the intrusión.

I was at the hardware store and...



- Pecan?

- I'm sick of pecans.



Freedom! Freedom!



- Are you willing to stand and fight?

- Yes!



How'd you find out about this?



Bureau procedure, Mr Ward.



Sheriff Stuckey.



He got his phone call.



Wonder who else was called.



Where you goin', boy?



Go on. Get outta here.



Here they come.



- Come on. Let's go.

- We'll wait until they go back inside.



Get him!



Get him into the goddamn truck!



Get inside, you sons of bitches.



- Let's go!

- Wait until they go back inside!



Come on, Ward. Let's go. Come on!



Go on!



- Turn left!

- How do you know?



I don't. Just turn left.



There's the truck.



Go up that little road there.



Stop, stop.



What's wrong with these people?



Mrs Walker, I know this is difficult

for you, but I really need your help.



If you could just persuade

your son to press charges...



...then we could pick up

the deputy at least, right away.



He won't talk to no one.



- And it won't do no good anyway.

- I promise you, it will.



Leave him alone.



Maybe then they'll let us alone.



If this is a pattern, I guess at least

we know what happened on June   st.



Pell stopped the three boys

for speeding at three o'clock.



He held them in jail until

the Klan could get organised.



Then he released 'em at   .  . By that

time, his buddies were ready and waiting.



No. Pell went with 'em that night.

I'm sure of it.



Do you think he'll crack?



Down here they say

rattlesnakes don't commit suicide.



Did you release

the three civil rights workers...



...into the hands of the Klan

on the night of June   st?






- Are you a member of the Ku Klux Klan?

- No.



- Have you ever been a member?

- No.



Are you familiar with

the term Grand Cyclops?



I've heard of it.



Were you in fact the Grand Cyclops

of the East Mississippi Klavern...



...of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

for the past three years?



Objection. My client's already told you,

he's not even a member of the Klan.



Objection? This is just an interview, sir.

There's really no need to be so formal.



Well, if this is just an interview, I guess

I don't have to stay here. I got work to do.



- I guess you do too, don't you?

- Yes, sir. You can be sure that we'll do it.



Good luck.



Y'all get enough to indict me,

you know where to find me.



- How'd it go?

- Fine. Just fine.



Don't you worry about a goddamn thing.



Are you about to be indicted?



Does the FBI have evidence

against the sheriff's office?



- Are you cooperating with them?

- We're cooperatin'. We have all along.



There's not one iota of proof.



Could you not do that, please?

Sir, do not do that, please.



You've already been told once!

Get the fuck outta here!



Do we have to tell you      times?

Go back where you belong!



Get outta my face!



Get on outta here and leave us alone!

Leave us alone!



Go on home where you belong, boy!

You're gonna get hurt!



Mr Ward, this is gettin' to be

about as much as we can take.



- I cannot register a stronger complaint.

- Not now, sir.



Now, just a minute. I resent your

public pursuit of my sheriff's department.



You have made every effort to

implicate them in these disappearances.



Your slimy innuendoes are not evidence

that they were connected with any crime.



We're trying to get to the truth.

We're frustrated too.



Any jackass can point a finger,

but that ain't evidence.



Us old cotton-choppers are still

stupid enough to believe in democracy.



- We know our rights under the law!

- You know somethin', all right.



- I'd bet a cotton-choppin' dollar on that.

- You're gettin' so far up my nose...



...I'm beginnin' to feel

your boots on my chin.



And I'm tellin' you one more time,

Mr Apple Red.



A couple of crazies in bedsheets dancin'

round the countryside scarin' Negroes...



...is not the fault of the entire

state of Mississippi!



There are three dead kids and a lot of

scared people because of your sheriff.



- So get used to havin' us around.

- Get used to my boots on your chin too.



And you people better back off.



Goddamn FBI. Who do they think they are,

comin' to my part of the country...



- Do you have a statement, Mr Mayor?

- Goddamn right I have.



For a moment there, Mr Anderson...



...it sounded like we were

both on the same side.



- Are you all right, honey?

- Yeah, I'm fine.



- Let me know if you need anything.

- Thanks. I will.



Momma! Come quick!



There's no sign of him, sir.

He's long gone.



His mother lives across the street.

She won't even answer the door.



I want the whole area covered.

Someone must have seen something.



- They won't talk to us.

- Get going, Mr Bird.



If they won't talk to us, shake it out of 'em.



Let's go. Every house. Come on.






All these white guys chasin' around with

their notebooks will get you nowhere.



OK. What would you do?



It's OK to be afraid.



Go on, Willie. Tell 'em what you saw.



The defendants will rise.



In this country a man's home is his castle.



That is one of the principles

by which this community survives.



You men have done violence

to that principle.



But I want you to know

that the court understands...



...that the crimes you have committed

have been, to some extent at least...



...brought about by... outside influences.



Outsiders have come

into Jessup County...



...and they've been

people of low morality...



...and unhygienic.



And their presence here

has provoked a lot of people.



So the court understands...



...without condoning them, mind you...



...that the crimes to which

you men have pled guilty...



...were, to some extent at least,

provoked by these outside influences.



So, with all this,

I'm gonna make your punishment light.



I'm gonna sentence you each

to five years' imprisonment.



But I'm gonna suspend these sentences.



You can't go in there, sir.



FBI. Let us through.



I'm sorry, sir. You can't go in there.






Y'all really started somethin' this time.



Move these cars.

I wanna go in and talk to them.



- You've gone as far as you're gonna go.

- We can handle this.



Just some crazy coloureds

tearin' up their own assholes.



Local problem.



Look at those flames, Mr Ward. That's

why they sent you down here, wasn't it?



It would've happened anyway

and you know it.



If I was a Negro,

I'd probably think the same way they do.



If you were a Negro,

nobody'd give a damn what you thought.



Aaron! Take your momma, grandmomma

and the children out the back door.



When you hit the road, keep goin'.

You understand? Keep goin', son.



Nathan! Come on, Nathan. Get up!



Get up, Nathan, now! Come on!

Get out of the bed!



- What's happening?

- Momma! Come on, Momma.



Come on, y'all.



Come on, Grandma. Let's go!



  All ye who labour



Who's there? If you're in there,

come on out! You hear?



I ain't takin' this shit no more!



  Bring him your burdens



  Seek not his favour



  Tell... tell him your sorrows



  In... him... confide



  He satisfies



  He satisfies



Everything's OK, Papa.



Momma and the giris are fine.



They just cracked your head some.

You just keep on breathin'.



Don't you go dyin' on me now.



You hear me?



You gonna be just fine.



You know, cows won't run away. No one

knows why. They're just stupid, I guess.



They just stand there until

their bellies swell up and they pop.



They have relatives in Detroit.



- Are they gonna go?

- I didn't give 'em any choice.



At least we know who did this.



- We did.

- Well, don't fret. It's progress.



   years ago they'd have

strung 'em up for stealin' a watermelon.



I don't understand you, Mr Anderson.

Not at all.



Let's get somethin' straight, all right?



This thing was fucked up the moment

we turned it into a show for the newsmen.



The moment those three kids

disappeared, it was news.



The moment the three civil rights

workers disappeared, it was news.



To me they're just kids.

They're still missin'.



What's missing... is the    minutes

Pell said he was with his wife.






I love Mississippi.






They hate Mississippi.



They hate us because

we present a shining example...



...of successful segregation.



These Northern students,

with their atheist, communist bosses...



...that have come into our community

this summer with the wish to destroy it...



...this week have taken a terrible blow.



This week their cause has been crippled.



This week all of these federal policemen

you see out here pryin' into our lives...



...violatin' our civil liberties...



...have learned that they are

powerless against us...



...if every single Anglo-Saxon

Christian one of us stands together!



This week...



- Ward?

- We have company, sir.



Why are you here?

This is a political meeting.



- Doesn't smell that way to me, Deputy.

- It's a political meeting, Hoover boy.



Oh, it looks like a political meeting

but smells more like Klan to me...



...with or without the Halloween costumes.






In the courts of Mississippi,

they have been reminded...



...that they cannot by force

turn our communities...



...into replicas of their communities.



Communities in which Negroes run riot,

unrestrained and unpunished...



...as they do this summer in the streets

of Harlem, or in the streets of Oakland...



...or in the streets of Chicago!



Can I come in?



It's not good for you to be here.



- Why?

- It's ugly.



This whole thing is so ugly.



Have you any idea what it's like

to live with all this?



People look at us...

and only see bigots and racists.



Hatred isn't something you're born with.



It gets taught.



At school they said segregation

is what it said in the Bible.



Genesis   verse   .



At seven years of age, you get

told it enough times, you believe it.



You believe the hatred.



You live it. You breathe it.



You marry it.



My husband drove

one of the cars that night.



- Shh.

- That's what you wanna hear, isn't it?



The bodies are buried

on the Roberts farm, in an earthen dam.






Take a break, Mr Bird.



Put some handkerchiefs around your face.



Bring that here.



The bodies of the three civil rights

workers were found today...



...at an undisclosed grave.



Neither the FBI nor the sheriff's

department will comment on the case.



The bodies were brought

to Jessup County Hospital.



Officials here also refused comment.



There is speculation that an autopsy

will be performed later tonight.



OK, keep it open. We're comin' through.



Come on, open it up.



Hold it back.




you got problems at home to tend to.



What do you mean?



I mean pull your head

out of your ass and get home!



"I, Vincent Thompson, am the

cheddar-cheese champion of the worid."



"In international competition with    other

entries, my cheddar won first prize...



... based on flavour, texture,

appearance and colour."



Hey, Clinton.

I didn't expect you home so early.



Hi, Frank.



No, don't. I'm sorry.






Say again?



I'll be right there.



- Mr Bird.

- Yes, sir?



Get five men and meet me outside.



- Where's Anderson?

- He's at the motel, sir.



You two take the front door. If anyone

tries to get past you, break 'em down.



You two take the door on the corridor.

Mr Bird?



OK. Go get Anderson. Bring him here.



Don't tell him why.

Don't tell him anything. Just get him here.



Mr Anderson. Stop!



- Mr Anderson!

- Go to hell.



I'm telling you to stop and

I mean it. We're not killers.



- It's the difference between them and us.

- No, between them and you!



- You're no more like them than I am.

- Wrong.



What do you care what I do to a bastard

hidin' behind a sheriff's badge?



- You have the whole worid to change!

- And I'm changin' it.



- You're as arrogant as you are stupid!

- You're changin' it too.



I'll make some changes right now!



Don't mess this up just because

you like foolin' around with witnesses.



A gun don't mean shit unless you use it.



- I'll kill you now if you don't listen to me.

- Fuck you.



Let me go. Let me go.



- We'll go after all of 'em, together.

- You wouldn't know how!



- You'll teach me.

- You don't have the guts.



Not only do I have the guts,

I have the authority.



What is that supposed to mean?



New rules. We nail 'em any way we can.

Even your way.



Is this you talkin' or

some guy pullin' your strings?






- We do it my way.

- Your way.



- With my people!

- Whatever it takes.






Gimme a minute.



- You think he would've shot me?

- Oh, yes, sir.



He's a ballsy little bastard, isn't he?



They want me to say "Let us not forget...



...that two white boys also died

helping Negroes help themselves."



They want me to say "We mourn with

the mothers of these two white boys."



But the state of Mississippi

won't even allow these white boys...



...to be buried in the same

cemetery as this Negro boy.



I say I have no more love to give.



I have only anger in my heart today...



... and I want you to be angry with me!



Now, I am sick and I am tired...



... and I want you to be

sick and tired with me!



I... I... I am sick and tired

of going to the funerals...



... of black men who have been

murdered by white men!



I... I am sick and tired

of the people of this country...



... who continue to allow

these things to happen!



What is an "inalienable right"

if you are a Negro?



What does it mean,

"equal treatment under the law"?



What does it mean,

"liberty and justice for all"?



Now I say to these people:



Look at the face of this young man

and you will see the face of a black man.



But, if you look at the bloodshed, it is red.

It is like yours!



It is just like yours!






I'm gonna tell you a story.



A young kid named Homer Wilkes

lives about    miles north of here.



He'd just taken his girlfriend home

and was walkin' back along the road...



...when a car pulled up.



Three white boys took him for a ride.






...he hadn't done anything...






...be a Negro.



And they took him to a shack.



A shack like... like this one.



And they took out a razor blade...



...a regular old razor blade, like this one...



...and they pulled down his pants...



...and they spread his legs...



...and they sliced off his scrotum.



Put it in a coffee cup.



And do you know how much you bleed

when somebody cuts off your balls?






When they found Homer, he looked like

he'd been dipped in blood up to his waist.



He was barely alive when

they got him to the hospital.



He can hardly walk now.



Mayor, we know you know...



...who was there when those three

civil rights boys was murdered.



We know you know

who pulled the trigger.



Is there somethin' you wanna say to me?






- Is he with the Bureau?

- Yeah. He's kind of a specialist.



- You're sure the mayor won't talk?

- No, they'd kill him!



All right. What do you have?



There were three cars and seven men.

Pell and Bailey did the killing.



- Sheriff Stuckey?

- He was too smart to be there.



- So Pell pulled the trigger for him.

- And Townley?



It was his idea. Grand Dragons,

they don't get their hands dirty.



The whole thing, huh? Bullet by bullet.



I don't suppose you're interested in words

like "coerción" or "hearsay" or "duress".



This is no good in court.



We're not in court, Mr Ward.

We'll never get 'em on murder anyway.



That's a state charge.

These hayseeds will never prosecute.



- I know that!

- We've got to get 'em in federal court!



- Violation of civil rights!

- Remember whose rights you're violatin'!



- Don't put me on your perch, Mr Ward!

- Don't drag me into your gutter!



These people crawled out of a sewer,

Mr Ward!



And maybe the gutter's

where we should be!



Thank you.



This better be important.



Who the hell called this meeting?



- We thought you did.

- Of this group? Are you stupid?



You didn't call this? Shit.



- If you didn't call this, who the fuck did?

- Shut up.



Is this some kind of bullshit setup?

Ray, are you sure you didn't call this?



Cos I got a note from my wife

and it said it was from you and Clinton.



Lester, shut up!




we're all gonna walk straight outta here...



...and say nothing.



That means nothin', Lester.



- First one who opens his mouth is dead.

- Shut up.



Hey, Clinton.






Looks like the rattlesnakes

are startin' to commit suicide.



Hi, Lester.



We'll give you that ride home.






Well, I know you said  .  

but we're runnin' a little late, so...



- I'll meet you in the car.

- You're cracked.



Do you have change of a   ?






Get in the car, Lester.



Or you'll have a hard time pickin'

your nose once I've closed this drawer.



Lester, you could make it a lot easier on

yourself by goin' on the record right now.



I ain't got nothin' to say.

You barkin' up the wrong tree, mister.



Lester, I gotta tell you somethin'.

We got you cold.



Your buddies have already talked.



You're lyin'.



You're in a lot of trouble. We know you

drove the second vehicle, the green truck.



And your buddy says...

Refresh my memory here, Mr Bird.



"Lester Cowens kicked the Negro

twice in the face and then shot him."



- That's a goddamn lie.

- No, it's true. What else, Mr Bird?



"Lester Cowens said 'They only left me

a nigger, but at least I shot me a nigger."'



- I didn't kill him. I shot him in the ass.

- We know that.



He was already dead by the time you shot

him. But your buddy sees it differently.



Your buddy tells it that you killed the kid.

You either go on the record right now...



...or it's gonna be your ass

we're talkin' about, not just a black kid's!



Think about it, Lester.

Come on out of there.



Come on out.



This is tricky.



They make it look so easy, don't they?



I got a question for you, Clinton.



You don't mind if I call you Clinton,

do you?



I feel like I know you so well.



The way we have it,

on the night of the murders...



...you made a short speech as the

bulldozer buried the kids in the dam.



How does Lester tell it?



"Mississippi will be proud of you.

You've struck a blow for the white man."



Is that what you said, Clinton? Hm?



Is that what you said?



It must've been you...



...because Clayton Townley and

Ray Stuckey were too smart to be there.



And you was too stupid to think

anybody'd remember what you said.



But old Lester, he got a good memory.



I'm sorry.

I haven't done this for a long time.



Did you make a speech the night that

you beat up your wife, Clinton? Huh?



Did ya?



Did you strike a blow

for the white man that night?



You got a stupid smile.

You know that, Pell?



Can you see it? Huh? Good!



Did you smile when the bulldozer

ran over the black kid's body? Did ya?!



Did you smile when the bodies

were covered over? Did ya?!



Get up here. Come on. Get up!



Did you smile that same stupid smile,




Did ya?! You...



Did ya smile, Pell? Did ya smile?!



Huh?! Did ya?!



Make no mistake about it, Deputy.



I'll cut your fuckin' head off and not give

a shit how it reads in the report sheet.



One more bite. One more bite.



One more bite, darlin'. One more bite.



- Shit, Lester! What the fuck is goin' on?!

- Shut up!



Get in the bedroom and lock the door!

And stay away from the windows!






Please. Please! I didn't say a thing!



I swear! It's a setup! I didn't say nothin'!

I didn't say nothin'!



Nothin'! I didn't say nothin'!

I didn't say nothin'!



I didn't say nothin'!



You're lucky we've been

watchin' your ass, Lester.



If you go on the record, Mr Cowens,

we'll give you protection. If not...



If not, they're gonna kill you anyway.



Oh. You need a toilet, Lester.



We really had him goin', huh?



We'll take care of the check, Mr Swilley.



Well, I suppose I'II... be back for supper.



Button up, Wesley.



Why did he do it?



He wasn't even in on it. Wasn't even Klan.



Mr Bird, he was guilty.



Anyone's guilty who watches this happen

and pretends it isn't.



No. He was guilty all right.



Just as guilty as the fanatics

who pulled the trigger.



Maybe we all are.









I just missed you at the hospital.

They said you'd gone home.



What's left of it.



- I'm real sorry.

- So am I.



- What are you gonna do?

- I don't know.



- Where will you go?

- I'm not goin' anywhere. I'm stayin'.



This is my home. Born here.



Probably die here.



If I wanted to leave,

I would've done it a long time ago.



Things'll work out.



There's enough good people around here

know what I did was right.



And enough ladies

like the way I fix their hair.






If you're ever in Des Moines...



...don't send me a postcard.






  We cannot see



  In the future



  No, no, no, no, no



  And it's hard



  To smile



  Through trials



  No, we cannot see



  Every pitfall



  But we must walk on



  By faith



  Each day



  Oh, Lord



  Whoa, on Monday



  Walk on



  And on Tuesday



  Walk on



-   Whoa, let Jesus

-   Let Jesus be



-   Let him be your

-   Your guide






  He's able



  He could carry your load



  And he could see way down the road



  Walk on



You wanna drive, Rupert?






  On Monday



  Walk on



-   And on Tuesday

-   Walk on



  Let Jesus be



-   Let him be your

-   Your guide



-   He's able

-   To carry your load



  To carry your load



  And he can see way down the road



  Walk on...





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