Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton (2010)
From the acclaimed Maysles Films production team, this Oscar-nominated, Sundance Award-winning documentary follows three generations of African-Americans from Mississippi as they battle extreme poverty and illiteracy. Living in a trailer without running water or lights, matriarch LaLee Wallace watches her grandchildren struggle in school, paralleling the efforts of the West Tallahatchie School System to raise standards, attract qualified teachers and find supplies, or risk takeover by the state. These intertwined stories are a sober exploration of the painful legacy of slavery and sharecropping in America’s Mississippi Delta. For as long as she can remember, LaLee Wallace’s family has picked cotton. It has been their way of life for generations – and it’s the main reason why they continue to live in poverty. Today, a movement is afoot to educate children in the Mississippi Delta, with hopes of attracting new industry and creating good jobs. But as LaLee and her family know, the legacy of cotton isn’t an easy one to shake.
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