Bolivar Co. Mississippi New Museum for Amzie Moore

Harvey Richards Films and Photos to Be Exhibited

1963, Mississippi.  Voter Registration Activists

Amzie Moore, 1963, Mississippi. Photo by Harvey Richards

The Harvey Richards Media Archive is thrilled to be included in the new Amzie Moore (1911-1982) museum coming to Cleveland, Mississippi in 2015. Bolivar County, Mississippi, with the cooperation of Delta State University, has acquired Amzie Moore’s home in Cleveland to turn it into a Civil Rights Museum. As part of the exhibits to be on view in the museum/home, now being restored to its 1950s condition, will be the films and photos of Harvey Richards. It is a great honor to be included in the new museum, so richly deserved by Amzie Moore and those whom he organized and rallied to the cause. Harvey Richards’ films and photos provide people today with an intimate portrait of Amzie Moore who had taken Richards into his world to make the films.

Amzie Moore House 2005 small

Amzie Moore’s House, Cleveland, Mississippi, 2005. Photo by Paul Richards

In the early months of 1963 and again in 1964, Harvey Richards traveled from California to Mississippi to make films to help advance the voter registrations drives in the heart of the segregated south. Two films resulted, We’ll Never Turn Back  and Dream Deferred. Both films were made possible through the cooperation of Amzie Moore, a resident of Cleveland, Mississippi, and long time NAACP leader who helped the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leader, Bob Moses, in his work in the state.  E.W. Steptoe, another local leader of the NAACP and associate of Amzie Moore, used his farm in the southern part of the state as a location to gather activists and help plan and prepare for the film. Amzie Moore brought people into remote farm houses in the delta, posted look outs in the early morning hours when the filming occurred.  Thanks to Amzie’s efforts, Harvey Richards was able to capture the heart of the freedom movement among the African American farmers and activists who risked everything to break segregation and achieve freedom in their own life times.

1963, Mississippi Voter Registration Activists.

Hollis Watkins, Amzie Moore, E.W. Steptoe, Mississippi, 1963. Photo by Harvey Richards.

Harvey’s still photos taken during these trips present portraits of the civil rights activists, standing calmly with confidence and determinations in their faces. In addition, his images of the south taken during his 1959 travels through the southern states are presented in two galleries on this web site.

The video above,  Amzie Moore Speaks, 1964, (created by Paul Richards, me) puts together film clips of Amzie’s appearance from Dream Deferred with photos from the Archive and includes Hollis Watkins’ singing recorded in the 1963 on location.

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