News Releases

Mississippi Justice: Then and Now

May 26, 2020

At noon on Wednesday, June 10, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Wilma Mosley Clopton will present “Mississippi Justice: Then and Now.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and uploaded to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

The program will feature a screening of Clopton’s new film Mississippi Justice, which examines a 1951 murder in Pike County. “Hattie Lee Barnes was a twenty-year-old African American who shot and killed a white male from a prominent family,” said Clopton. The film draws on trial records and interviews to depict the case’s twists and turns.

In less than three weeks after the shooting Barnes was indicted, entered a not guilty plea, and was on trial for murder. Joe Pigott, PIke County’s newest and most inexperienced public defender, was appointed as Barnes’s attorney. “According to our research the courtroom was overflowing with onlookers, and the spite and anger for Ms. Barnes was obvious,” said Clopton. “That same spite and anger was equally as obvious for Mr. Pigott as he defended this black woman who killed a respected member of the white community.”

Following the screening Clopton will be joined in a panel discussion by Pauline Rogers, co-founder and president of Reaching and Educating for Community Hope, and Regina Quinn, a partner in the May Law Firm, PLLC.

Production of the film Mississippi Justice was made possible by contributions from the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc., the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, One Voice, the Jackson Branch of the NAACP, and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Wilma Mosley Clopton is a graduate of the University of Mississippi Filmmaking Workshop and the Barefoot Filmmakers Workshop. Her body of work to date includes twelve short films, four books, one play, and the Margaret Walker Alexander coloring book for children. Clopton is the recipient of the 2011 Mississippi Humanities Council Educator Award, the 2014 Mississippi Arts Commission Media Fellowship Award, the 2013 and 2015 Mississippi Film and Video Alliance’s “Emerging Filmmaker Award.” Her work has been recognized by the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, the Mississippi Historical Society, and Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc.

History Is Lunch is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email


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