The WTMD Film Series returns with a free screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “Two Trains Runnin’,” about the search for two long-lost Mississippi blues musicians in the midst of the violent and tumultuous summer of 1964, also known as the Freedom Summer for the civil rights movement.
This new monthly series, a partnership with Towson University’s Department of Electronic Media and Film, debuted in January with a free, standing-room-only showing of “Bang! The Bert Berns Story.” We’ll have popcorn, soda, beer and other refreshments.
Directed by Sam Pollard, narrated by Common, and featuring the music of Gary Clark Jr., “Two Trains Runnin'” pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians and cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America.
In June of 1964 hundreds of college students, eager to join the civil rights movement, traveled to Mississippi, starting what would be known as Freedom Summer. That same month, two groups of young men — musicians, college students and record collectors — also traveled to Mississippi, searching for the old blues singers Son House and Skip James. Thirty years before, these musicians had recorded some of the most memorable music of their era, but now they seemed lost to time.
Finding them would not be easy. There were few clues to their whereabouts. It was not even known for certain if they were still alive. And Mississippi, that summer, was a tense and violent place.
With hundreds on their way to teach in freedom schools and work on voter registration, the Ku Klux Klan and police force of many towns vowed that Freedom Summer would not succeed. Churches were bombed, shotguns blasted into cars and homes.
It was easy to mistake the two groups of young men looking for Son House and Skip James as activists. Finally, on June 21, 1964, these two campaigns collided in memorable and tragic fashion.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the screening starts at 8 p.m. at 1 Olympic Place in Towson. For more information, call 410-704-8938 or go to wtmd.org.