April 24, 2019

Fannie Lou Hamer's America Filmmaker Speaks to Journalism Students at Ole Miss

(April 1, 2019) – OXFORD, MS. – Dr. Pablo Correa, videographer for the upcoming documentary, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, spoke to high school students at the annual Mississippi Scholastic Press Association (MSPA) Convention hosted by the University of Mississippi in Oxford on April 1.

Dr. Pablo Correa of Fannie Lou Hamer's America presented at the Overby Center at The University of Mississippi on April 1, 2019.

The one-day event was held at the Ole Miss Campus and more than 500 students from 35 area schools attended. Organizers said the convention allows high school students who work for their respective school newspapers, yearbooks, broadcasts and literary magazines to convene in one location, share their passion among their peers and explore life on a college campus.

Correa, who is also the webmaster for Fannie Lou Hamer’s America and an instructor for one of the project’s curriculum efforts, the Find Your Voice Young Filmmakers’ Workshop, teaches 15 high school students from the Mississippi Delta how to create and produce their own video narratives and oral histories during a five-week summer program. Correa spoke to students attending the Ole Miss convention about video storytelling and the overall project on Mississippi native and civil rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer.

“It was an honor to work in collaboration with the MSPA convention and the University of Mississippi to inspire the next generation of journalists and storytellers,” Correa said. The students seemed to really enjoy their trip to the university’s campus, and I enjoyed sharing with them about digital storytelling and our Fannie Lou Hamer’s America project.”

Dr. Correa introduces the whole Fannie Lou Hamer's America team collectively responsible for the Find Your Voice Young Filmmaker's Workshop, a K-12 Curriculum, and a feature-length documentary film.

R.J. Morgan, director of the MSPA and a professor of journalism at Ole Miss, said the convention also prepares students to take progressive steps in furthering their education and careers by offering seminars aimed at specific areas of the publishing field.

“Letting them see how college works and exposing them to that environment gets them thinking in terms of attending college,” he said. “These conventions are a major undertaking. But they are so, so important for the student journalists of our state. They leave here with new skills and renewed energy, ready to get back home and better tell the stories of their schools and communities. What could be better than that?"

The MSPA was created in 1947 to “support, promote and nurture journalism in a high school setting through workshops, competitions, conventions and online aids and advice. Membership is open to any school that has a newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, online publication, broadcast and/or journalism class.” Ole Miss has hosted the spring convention since its inception. The event usually draws approximately 500-600 high school students. In 2017, a fall convention was added at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“The convention really serves as a rallying point and pep rally in terms of helping these students understand that this is something they should feel proud of, something they can hang their hat on,” Morgan said.

Correa, who received his doctorate from Florida State University and specializes in digital media, documentary film and graphics and short animations, currently teaches in the Civic Communication and Media department at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He says programs like the MSPA and the Young Filmmakers’ Workshop gives students unique opportunities to develop and refine their media skills and prepare them for future careers in media and journalism.

 “The MSPA program is a great tool for students in preparation for college or future careers and is very similar to the goals of Fannie Lou Hamer’s Young Filmmaker’s workshop where we prepare Delta students for careers in media production. In my session, I shared as many tips and tricks to digital storytelling that I could fit into the hour session, showing students how to get started immediately using just their phones!”

Several students from the Young Filmmakers’ Workshop had their work on I Snuck Off The Slave Ship featured at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and the student’s class film, Find Your Voice, premiered at the Crossroads Film Festival in Madison on April 13.

"We were so excited to have someone from the Fannie Lou Hamer's America team join us and share this important work with young people from all across Mrs. Hamer's home state,” said Morgan. “Our whole mission at MSPA is to help young people find and refine their own voices, so obviously that fits together with the goals of the Hamer project like a glove. I would love nothing more than to nurture a whole new generation full of Fannie Lou Hamers in Mississippi."

Dr. Correa at the MSPA Conference at The University of Mississippi on April 1, 2019.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s America is a multimodal project, based on the civil rights activist’s life, that includes a new and original documentary, an educational curriculum, an interactive website and clearinghouse for Hamer-related materials and a virtual tour. The project’s mission is to create a platform for Hamer’s voice in our modern time while addressing and promoting conversations about racial equity.

The documentary is slated for completion and release in 2019. Funding was provided by: The Mississippi Humanities Council, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, Retzer Resources (McDonald’s) and the Ella Baker Center For Human Rights.  For more information log onto www.fannielouhamerdocumentary.com, Facebook: Fannie Lou Hamer’s America and Twitter: @flhamerica.

# # #