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Parchman Penitentiary

Film by Bill Ferris
Produced by William R. Ferris
Cinematographer: William Ferris
Sound: William Ferris
Editing: William Ferris
Copyright: 1969 William R. Ferris, Jr
18 minutes, Black and White
Original format: Film: 8mm, 1969
More Film Facts
Home streaming only. For other permissions apply to Bill Ferris or to the distributor.

We recommend you view with the Transcript


William Ferris writes...: I was never sure how or why I was allowed into Parchman's "Camp B,"  and I never asked. Set apart from the main complex of Parchman, the camp is located several miles to the north east of the town of Lambert, Mississippi. On my first visit, I thought that I might have been mistaken for another visitor who was coming on an official visit. In both cases, however, I explained that I was writing "a book" on music and wanted to record prison work chants. The officials accepted this explanation for my visit and allowed me total access to the inmates. During my first visit in the late sixties, I recorded and filmed work chants outside the prison buildings and a sermon by a white evangelical preacher in the dining hall that was followed by a capella gospel singing led by an inmate nicknamed "Flat Top" who sang with a beautiful high pitched tenor voice."

There is a transcription of this film in the left side bar.


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