‘Southern Rites’ Documentary Examines a Town’s Sharp Racial Divide

By Qimmah Saafir May 11, 2015

“Southern Rites,” a new documetary executive-produced by John Legend, delves into a 2010 racialized killing in Montgomery County, Georgia.

Director Gillian Laub—who in 2009 photographed a Montgomery County high school’s racially segregated prom—shows how a local white man is charged with murdering a 22-year-old black man who had appeared in her prom pictures.

The killing occurred just a year after the town finally decided to merge its proms. It also took place at a time when a man named Calvin Burns was running to become the town’s first black sheriff.

HBO will broadcast “Southern Rites.” It will air on May 18 during the week of the 61st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Watch the trailer above.