Lillian Smith

A documentary, 'Breaking the Silence: Lillian Smith,' about Lillian Smith, a Jasper native, will air Oct. 10 at the Jasper Public Library at 6 p.m.

JASPER — Lillian Smith’s story is coming home.

The Jasper native is featured in a documentary, “Breaking the Silence: Lillian Smith,” that will air today at the Jasper Public Library at 6 p.m.

Smith was a southern writer/activist who received national attention in the 1940s-50s as the first prominent southern author to speak out against segregation.

Her first novel, Strange Fruit (1944), was a national bestseller that dropped like a bomb on wartime America because of its bold look at social — and sexual — relations in a small southern town that strongly resembled her hometown of Jasper, where she was born in 1897.

“Breaking the Silence” explores how this child of the South became a formidable opponent of the southern way of life protected by segregationist politicians, church leaders and newspaper editors. The documentary tells the story of Smith in her own voice and seldom-seen interviews, and also through the voices of friends and family and those like Otis Moss Jr. and Lonnie King, both pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as leading academics such as George Yancy of Emory University, Diane Roberts of Florida State University, and Lillian Smith scholar Rose Gladney.

Created by Hal and Henry Jacobs, the film explores the life of Smith who was a southern leader in denouncing segregation and white supremacists for several decades — paying a heavy price for it. Smith left a lasting legacy in the literary and Civil Rights communities, a legacy that is still relevant today.

Smith’s “Killers of the Dream” will be the topic of the library’s Book Club when it meets Oct. 21 at 6 p.m.

Also in October, the library will host a screening of the Ken Burns documentary “Country Music” that aired on PBS. The screen and conversation will take place Monday at 6 p.m.

The library is hosting a “Code and Go: Robot Mouse” Makerspace on Oct. 17 and Oct. 31 at 3:30 p.m.

On Oct. 24, the library presents Karma Wilson’s Bear Books in a 4 p.m. event that will include stories, crafts, games and music.

The library is hosting a Spooky Times special event Oct. 28 from 5-6 p.m. that will include stories, music, crafts and more with a Halloween theme.

Pre-K storytime takes place every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

The library’s Kid Zone is open Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m.

The library will be closed Oct. 30 for staff development.

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