1963, 31 min., black/white, DVD
Share Croppers and Voter Registration Activists Tell Their Stories.
We’ll Never Turn Back contains unique footage of share croppers and voter registration activists telling their stories of heroism and hardship encountered in their fight to gain the right to vote in Mississippi in 1963. Fannie Lou Hamer tells her story of being evicted from the Marlow plantation where she had worked for 18 years. Hollis Watkins sings freedom songs and speaks his mind. Julian Bond and Bob Moses tell about their goals and views of the situation in Mississippi. The camera visits the family of Herbert Lee, murdered in 1962 for his attempts to register to vote. Sharecroppers tell their stories in their own words. During that time, many who participated in the filming did so without giving their names because of the fear of reprisals against them for standing up for their right to vote.
We’ll Never Turn Back was made possible through the cooperation of Amzie Moore, a resident of Cleveland, Mississippi, and long time NAACP leader who had 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 took Harvey Richards into his circles. He brought people into remote farm houses, posted look outs in the early morning hours when the filming occurred. Thanks to Amzie Moore, 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. Photo images of this 1963 film trip are posted on this website as well.
We’ll Never Turn Back was a revised version of Freedom Bound, with added footage of SNCC leaders making direct fund raising appeals. The making of this film, and Dream Deferred made in 1964, is the subject of Primary Source Documentaries: The Making of We’ll Never Turn Back(1963) and Dream Deferred (1964) by Paul Richards, PhD.
Topics: SNCC, civil rights, voter registration, 1960s.
The making of Richards’ Civil Rights Movement films is discussed in Primary Source Documentaries: The Making of We’ll Never Turn Back (1963) and Dream Deferred(1964) (PDF).