Oh Freedom After While (Film)

Oh Freedom After WhileA  historical documentary about a dramatic 1939 roadside protest by Missouri Bootheel sharecroppers–black and white–and the repercussions it had in politics and in their lives.

Narrated: by Julian Bond

Directed and Edited: 
Steven John Ross
Written: by
Candace O’Connor and Steven J. Ross

Script consultant:
Lynn Rubright
Produced: by
Candace O’Connor, Steven J. Ross and Lynn Rubright
Original Music Composed: by
Daniel Rubright

Web site Design:
Bill Dyer

Featuring the photographs of Arthur Witman from the
Western Historical Manuscript Collection,
University of Missouri-St. Louis and
Photographs of Arthur Rothstein and Russell Lee from the Library of Congress
It’s a wonderful example of the fact that things can change and that history can take us totally by surprise. These sharecroppers were not only oppressed but terrorized and, in the space of a few months, they developed a solid organization, shut down a highway, attracted national attention, won their demands, and changed their lives. It is a nice reminder that ‘common people’ aren’t common at all –and they can do incredible things.
-Dr. David Roediger, professor of history, University of Minnesota 


Sharecroppers · Great Migration · Mechanization of Agriculture · Race Relations · New Deal · Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union · Unionization · Protest Music


Cantor, Louis. A Prologue to the Protest Movement: The Missouri Sharecropper Roadside Demonstration of 1939. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1969.

Greene, Lorenzo J. “Lincoln University’s Involvement with the Sharecropper Demonstration in Southeast Missouri, 1939-1940.” Missouri Historical Review, October 1987.

Greene, Lorenzo J., Gary R. Kremer, and Antonio F. Holland. Missouri’s Black
Heritage. St. Louis: Forum Press, 1980.

Mitchell, H.L. Mean Things Happening in This Land. Montclair, New Jersey: Allanheld, Osmun & Co., 1979.

Snow, Thad. From Missouri. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 1954.

Strickland, Arvarh E. “The Plight of the People in the Sharecroppers’ Demonstration in Southeast Missouri.” Missouri Historical Review, July 1987.

Oh Freedom After While is available in VHS video tape format from:

California Newsreel
149 Ninth Street Suite 420
San Francisco, CA 94103
Voice: 1-415-621-61961-800-621-6196
“Oh Freedom” at Newsreel.org

If you are a K- 12 teacher in the state of Missouri you can purchase
Oh Freedom After While
 from Success Link: call 888-636-4395 for more information.

For more information on Oh Freedom After While
contact: Lynn RubrightCandace O’Connor or Steven J. Ross

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