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Catching Up to the Joneses

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Banished

In the latest installment of “Independent Lens,” Peabody-winning documentarian Marco Williams (Two Towns of Jasper) drops in very uninvited on Forsyth County, Georgia, Pierce City, Missouri, and Harrison, Arkansas, where white mob violence expelled entire black communities in the early twentieth century, after which “racial cleansing” they’ve been comfy ever since. Williams brings with him descendants of the dispossessed interested in the bodies of their ancestors, the titles to their expropriated lands, and the scruples and excuses of towns that didn’t want them. The resulting counterpoint of, on the one hand, deed registries and newspaper photographs of lynchings, and, on the other, white-haired, pink-faced good ol’ boys and gals who are not, of course, to be blamed for what their granddaddies did and don’t really see how “reparations” do any good in the long run, anyway, would be hilarious if it weren’t obscene. Don’t miss the Klan, talking on camera.


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