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September 9: Governors’ Film Screening & Conversation, “The Toughest Job: William Winter’s Mississippi”

Detail from "The Toughest Job: William Winter's Mississippi" Poster

Detail from “The Toughest Job: William Winter’s Mississippi” poster

A cross-university event on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus features a film screening of The Toughest Job: William Winter’s Mississippi and conversation with the former Mississippi governor and former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt. This Southern Documentary Project film received the 2015 Emmy for Best Historical Documentary from the Southeast division of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. A trailer for the film can be viewed hereThe Center for Documentary Studies and MFA | EDA are the Duke University cosponsors for the event. 

Wednesday, September 9, 5:30 p.m.
FedEx Global Education Center
UNC-Chapel Hill campus

301 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill, North Carolina; map

MFA|EDA director Tom Rankin reflects on the singular career of film subject William Winter:

I moved to Mississippi in the early 1980s during a moment of optimism brought on by the progressive leadership of William Winter, who was elected as the 57th Mississippi Governor in 1980. A tenacious and pioneering education leader, Winter has remained a model for education reform efforts across the South. A new documentary film—The Toughest Job: William Winter’s Mississippi—chronicles his successful effort to pass the 1982 Education Reform Act. Whether as an author, historian, or political leader, former Governor Winter has never ceased pushing for deep changes in public education, challenging us all to understand that our collective future depends on fully educating all citizens. While Winter has been out of elected office since 1984, he has remained deeply active in the betterment of his state and the region. Now ninety-two years old, one can easily argue that through his mentoring of other politicians (including Bill Clinton), his progressive leadership on education and the economy, and his transformative role in race and reconciliation, he has served as a singular model of consciousness for the South and the nation over the last several decades. A member of the President’s Advisory Board on Race in 1997–98, the Center for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi is named in his honor and continues to be the beneficiary of his vision and continued work.

After the screening Winter and former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt will discuss their political careers and specifically their work in education reform and expansion. Not long ago William Winter gently remarked of education policy, “I do think we have lost our momentum.”  The post-screening conversation, moderated by David Dodson of MDC, promises to be an insightful reflection on where we’ve been and where we need to go.

UNC cosponsors for the event include Center for Global InitiativesGlobal Research Institute, Carolina Center for Public Service, Southern Historical Collection, Center for the Study of the American South, and Hunt Institute.

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