From the Director

In an extended essay, Lessons from the Memphis 13, director Daniel Kiel offers a behind-the-scenes view of the film’s creation, his perspective on the themes of the film, and how the stories of Memphis’s pioneering students fit into the broader studies of school desegregation and the use of children in social movements.

In February 2014, he shared some of these thoughts with an audience at the University of Memphis Ned McWherter Library – check out the video.

For teachers and other screening hosts, check out theĀ Classroom Discussion Guide – a full curriculum anchored around the film – and the Host’s Guide, a brief collection of questions and activities based on the film.

Further Resources

Integration and Innocence – In 2004, at the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, John Branston at The Memphis Flyer wrote this piece, including profiles of several of the Memphis 13.

Exploded Dream: Desegregation in the Memphis City Schools – Daniel Kiel’s historical review of the desegregation story, published in the Journal of Law and Inequality in 2008.

Opportunity Lost: Race and Poverty in the Memphis City Schools – Marcus Pohlmann examines events before and after desegregation, compares a city school to a suburban school, and offers critical assessments of various educational reforms.

A Memphis Dilemma: A Half Century of Public Education Reform from Desegregation to Consolidation – Daniel Kiel’s followup article connecting the desegregation stories of Memphis City and Shelby County Schools to the current transition to a unified county-wide school system, published in 2011 in the University of Memphis Law Review.

A Historical Study of the Desegregation of the Memphis City Schools – 1954-1970 – Former Memphis Mayor and MCS Superintendent W.W. Herenton’s dissertation from Southern Illinois University in 1971.

Maxine Smith’s Unwilling Pupils – Memphis NAACP Executive Secretary Maxine Smith’s memoir of the movement, including her role in the school desegregation movement. Written by Sherry Hoppe and Bruce Speck.

A Bittersweet Victory: Public School Desegregation in Memphis – Roger Biles’s account of MCS desegregation, published in the Journal of Negro Education in 1986.

The Cost of Myth Making– Amy Barger’s Honors Thesis from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2008.

What Do You See? The Supreme Court Decision in PICS and the Resegregation of Two Southern School Districts – An article by Celia Rousseau Anderson looks at the modern relevance of desegregation litigation in Memphis and beyond.

Crusades for Freedom: Memphis and the Political Transformation of the American South – Wayne Dowdy of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center looks at the post-war political developments in Memphis and their impact on the civil rights movement.

Memphis and the Paradox of Place – Wanda Rushing explores the relationship between globalization and place, examining Memphis, including its unique history.

Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and Black Freedom Struggle – Laurie Green looks into the psychology and historical roots of the struggle for equality, utilizing Memphis as a case study.

Bibliography of Materials Related to School Desegregation in West Tennessee – A bibliography compiled in 2005 by Earlene Moore at the Paul Meek Library at the University of Tennessee at Martin for a Civil Rights Conference.

Winner 2014 Honolulu African American Film Festival