For the video on day 22 of the #vpdexperiment, I make a recommendation for a movie and then I add additional thoughts below.

The summer before our first year of law school, students in my class were asked to read the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It is this book upon which the movie is based. Although it is a compelling story on its own, it was made more so for me because I was familiar with the town described within its pages. You see, I spent my summers working at my grandparents’ home about 30 miles southeast of Monroeville outside the small village of Castleberry. By comparison, Monroeville was a “big town” and we often ventured there to sell cows at the stock yard or buy jeans at the Vanity Fair outlet. I am sure that I must have read newspaper accounts of the murder at the time.

Small town Alabama was not a hotbed of progressive ideas in the ’80s. Unfortunately, I witnessed the racism portrayed in the movie and described in the book first hand. If anything, the book and movie gloss over how deeply ingrained those beliefs truly were. For anyone living in the area, times were tough. For those outside of the “good old boys” club, they must have been truly horrific. The book delves into this more and is worth reading even after seeing the movie.

Lest you think that this story ends a long time ago and “things surely have changed,” Sheriff Tate left office in 2019.

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

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