The Free State of Jones

The Free State of Jones: My Keynote address to the Mississippi Historical Society

by Vikki Bynum

Make no mistake—those who write about and those who just plain love Mississippi history were excited this past week to learn more about The Free State of Jones! On Friday, March 4, 2016, I spoke at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society about the legendary, historical, and cinematic versions of this legendary—but, oh, so true—insurrection against the Confederacy.

I knew my trip to Mississippi was off to a great start when my airport cab driver asked me, upon learning that I was a historian of the Civil War, whether I’d heard of the upcoming movie titled “The Free State of Jones.” Here was my moment, and I didn’t blow it: “Uh, yes,” I said, “I’m the author of the book.” We laughed and talked, and he told me he was going to buy my book. So, on my return trip to the airport, I happily gave him a signed copy of the movie edition of The Free State of Jones!

My two-night stay in Jackson was filled with camaraderie, lively conversation, and anticipation of the coming movie, capped by the following remarks by Chris Goodwin of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in regard to the photographs he took:

This is what you call a full house! Thanks again for the great keynote at the Mississippi Historical Society’s conference last week. Folks were literally rapt with attention to your Free State of Jones saga–and without a final grade to compel them to be that way!

Thank you, Mississippi, for making me feel so welcome. I can’t wait to watch the movie version of the Free State of Jones with you!

NOTE: It has just been announced that the movie has a new release date: June 24, 2016

Victoria Bynum addressing the Mississippi Historical Society, March 4, 2016

Addressing the Mississippi Historical Society, March 4, 2016 (photograph by Chris Goodwin)

Victoria Bynum signing books, Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society, March 4, 2016

Signing books, Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society, March 4, 2016 (photograph by Chris Goodwin)

Movie Edition, Free State of Jones

Movie Edition, Free State of Jones

1 reply »

  1. Congrats on a full house in Mississippi. I loved your book and the wonderful, brave story long before I knew about your blog!

    Emily Cooper Read: Queen of the Lost The story of Lucy Pickens

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