By Vikki Bynum
The “Free State of Jones” is a true story of war, rebellion, and counter-rebellion. On October 13, 1863, in the midst of the American Civil War, a group of men from Jones County, Mississippi, banded together and declared their allegiance to the United States government. Electing white farmer Newt Knight their captain—and supported by families, friends, and certain slaves—the men took up arms against the Confederate army. The bold actions of the Knight Band soon exploded in an inner civil war that continued well into the era of Reconstruction, pitting neighbor against neighbor and dividing families into Unionist and Confederate factions.
This insurrection and community war created unlikely alliances. Newt Knight and Rachel Knight—formerly the slave of Newt’s grandfather—became lovers as well as collaborators, building over the years a mixed-race community that defied the laws of segregation, and which thrives today in Jones County, Mississippi.
The movie edition of the book, The Free State of Jones, is available from the University of North Carolina Press and from Duckworth Publishers of the UK. For the new Audible version, actor Mahershala Ali lends his dramatic expertise and beautiful baritone voice.
To listen to a sample, click here.
To read a review by AV Club, click here.
Don’t miss Hollywood’s compelling version of The Free State of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell, and Mahershala Ali, and featuring an original screenplay by director/author Gary Ross. To be released by STX Entertainment on June 24, 2016.
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