The event Wednesday night honored former Mississippi Gov. William Winter — renowned for his work in racial reconciliation and education — with the screening of “The Toughest Job: William Winter’s Mississippi.”
Jesse White, adjunct professor at the UNC School of Government, framed the documentary’s events in the context of the civil rights movement.
“To students, this may seem like the Paleolithic Age,” he said.
As the night continued, attendees like UNC senior Rebeka Johnson said she saw the film’s present value.
Winter’s story is one of perseverance, enduring racially charged politics and two lost gubernatorial races before taking office as governor in 1980.
The film depicts Winter’s fight for universal access to quality education and racial equality in the only state that then lacked compulsory education.
After the film, Winter and former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt sat down to discuss their takeaways from decades in education policy.
They called upon students to become engaged in the political world to make an institutional difference.