The Free State of Jones

Here it is: The Official “Free State of Jones” Movie Trailer!

By Vikki Bynum

I enjoyed watching the Free State of Jones trailer yesterday, and I know from reading my email and comments on Facebook that many of you did, too!

Not only are the scenes visually dramatic, so also do skillfully-placed bits of dialogue make clear that this true story encompasses important divisions of class among slaveholders and nonslaveholders. The front-line involvement of women, children, and slaves in Jones County, Mississippi’s insurrection against the Confederacy is in-your-face, —testimony to the power of film to deliver the past with immediate emotional impact.

Learn more about the movie by visiting STX Entertainment’s Free State of Jones website.

For those who have not yet seen the trailer, here it is:

13 replies »

  1. Hello! We are working on my husband’s geneology and we just found out that my husband’s great great great great grandfather is Simeon Collins from MS. My husband’s grandfather’s grandfather is Columbus Collins (grandson of Simeon). I would love to get in contact with you!


    • Hi AA:

      If you type Simeon Collins’s name into the search box on the front page of this blog, all posts that discuss him will come up for you. Please add any information and questions that you have in comments to those posts.



  2. I am a Knight and grew up in Jones County, MS but I left over 25 years ago. As a kid I was never really interested in the history of the Knight family although I heard the stories over the years. My father, who is still in Jones County, has been trying to get me to learn the history and I’ve decided it’s time I should. I am a 4th cousin to Newt so quite removed. John Jackie Knight is my great-great-great grandfather. My father took me to his grave many years ago. My father has given me many documents and books that I haven’t read yet and I doubt he’s read through them all of them. I have a signed copy of “Echo of the Black Horn” by Ethel Knight. I haven’t read it yet but even my father said he thinks it’s more a work of fiction, or half-truths than actual fact. Vikki, my father also gave me your book “Free State of Jones” and I look forward to reading it. Thank you for this fascinating and informative blog. I’ve already learned a lot here and look forward to learning much more.


    • Steven,

      How wonderful that your father prodded you to learn the history of your Knight forebears! So many people I’ve corresponded with tell me that discussing the story of Newt Knight and the Free State of Jones wa or is taboo around their parents and grandparents. It’s people like your father who helped me to pull apart the myths and legends.

      Ethel Knight’s book was my starting point after learning that such an event had occurred. I once heard a funny story from someone who knew her well. He said that he asked her if the stories in her book were true, and she responded that “some are; some aren’t. but I’m not telling you which is which.”

      Thank you for your good words about this blog; I’m glad you’re enjoying it’s essays!



  3. Wow. That’s exciting! I can’t wait to see the movie and I am very interested to see how the world responds to it. The fact that it is getting hyped three months out and stars an academy award winner should bring a large audience. And more new readers interested in history.


    • Thanks, Doug. I’m feeling the same way. In a way, the movie is a composite of all the inner civil wars that are discussed on Renegade South, and I hope the descendants of the North Carolina and Texas uprisings feel the same. Hopefully the topic of Southern dissent, guerrilla warfare, and home front battles that drew in entire communities will become a central aspect of Civil War studies!



  4. Vikki: Could not agree with you more. I have spent much on my time studying and writing about Southern Unionists. Despite the attention the topic has garnered over the past twenty years or so, the sub-genre is still grossly understudied and certainly not understood. I have a new book out on that topic I think you would really enjoy. You can read it in between premieres. Please email me a mailing address at and i will drop one in the mail to you.


  5. This is a little late but in case it gets posted in time.

    On the IMDB message board for “Free State of Jones” they announced that the IMDb is interviewing Matthew McConaughey and Gugu Mbatha Raw about FSoJ… but TODAY! If anybody has any questions they’d like to ask them, you need to go to the Message Board for the movie where the IMDb editors have posted a thread. Questions need to be sent to them by 5 p.m. PST today.


  6. It looks like the IMDb have extended the question period. Now on twitter they are asking for questions to be submitted. Check out the twitter pages for #Free State of Jones, #FreeState, #IMDb, #McConaughey and #GuguMbatha-Raw.


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