For the past 24 years, nobody has celebrated southern history by way of a combination of books, film, music, food, lectures, and other entertainment quite like the Natchez Literary & Cinema Celebration. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the conference, and its theme alone- 60 years and counting: Voices of the Civil Rights Movement– suggests an event you don’t want to miss. From a fitting title inspired by the Brown versus Board of Education decision 60 years ago and the passage of the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago, to the roster of distinguished figures, this silver anniversary celebration may quite possibly be the best to date.
Two noted highlights of the conference are that civil rights leader Duncan M. Gray Jr. is set to appear and motivational speaker/author of “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored”, Clifton Taulbert will be on hand to début his brand-new book, “The Invitation”.
The celebration kicks off with pre-conference events on Thursday February 20th at various Natchez locations beginning at 9 a.m. Conference activities at the Natchez Convention Center begin with a 9 a.m. opening ceremony on Friday. After an events-filled day, the evening caps off with a 7 p.m. viewing of The Help; also in attendance this year is both the author of the book, Kathryn Stockett, and the screenwriter/director of the movie, Tate Taylor.
Featured among Saturday’s festivities is the NCLL’s Silver Anniversary Celebration from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Like most events at this year’s conference, this one is free and open to the public. It will honor speakers and award winners from this year’s conference. Later in the evening are two of the conference’s few ticketed events: the Gala fundraising reception and dinner scheduled for 6 p.m, (tickets go for $135 however $100 is tax-deductible); and Ed King brings the evening to a close with “Overcoming: The Roll of Tougaloo (Miss.) College during the Civil Rights Movement” followed by Civil Rights-era choral selections performed by the Tougaloo College Choir. This event is $10.
The final treat of the conference is a free walking tour on Sunday February 23rd from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The tour offers participants a chance to explore historical black churches and their relevance during the civil rights movement.
For a peek at the full agenda go here.