#FullFrameFocus: “Mossville”

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#FullFrameFocus: “Mossville”

Q&A with the director and other production members after the documentary

Q&A with the director and other production members after the documentary

Caitlin Richards

Q&A with the director and other production members after the documentary

Caitlin Richards

Caitlin Richards

Q&A with the director and other production members after the documentary

Anthony Mercer, Staff Writer

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During Full Frame Festival, I had the opportunity to watch some great documentaries learning about people’s stories, extinction of animals, environmental activist organizations and more.

One of my favorite documentaries I saw at the festival was “Mossville.” This documentary was about a small town in Louisiana that was founded by freed slaves. The members of the community created businesses and created a culture that was manifested from slaves.

With such history and tradition, multiple generations stayed in Mossville as a direct way to stay connected to their roots. Until one day when the entire region of that area would change forever. A chemical based company called Sasol migrated from South Africa to Mossville, Louisiana.

They forced out all members of the community. They gave the citizens in the community two options: stay here and be miserable or take a $2,000 offer for your land and home. Stacey, who was the main character, was not about to leave his family roots and tradition to this chemical plant company that wanted to wipe away everything his family and other families of freed slaves had helped to build.

He made his family a promise that he would continue to fight against Sasol. Many of his family members died from cancer due to chemical exposure, to the point where the only people left in his family are him and his son.

The documentary also records Stacey’s deteriorating health from chemical exposure. After a long hard fight against the Sasol, Stacey decides to leave Mossville and prioritize the upbringing of his son. He wants his son to be able to have a great life and future. This documentary touched many people at the festival and won the Humanitarian Award.  

I firmly believe that different corporations and organizations purposefully build plants in predominant African-American communities to push out the people. Especially in low income areas, it’s hard for people to pick up their belongings and just move to a different place.

The foundation of the consistency of oppression of African-Americans is environmental racism. We see all across the country how these power plants are being built in black communities, from Mossville in Louisiana to PSEG Keys Energy Center in Maryland and Southwestern Waste Management Corp. in Houston, Texas.

The aftermath of this racism forces many members of the community to not get equitable market value for their homes or property and it deteriorates generational health due to the exposure to dangerous chemicals.

According to a Medium.com article titled “The Societal Effects of Environmental Racism”: “In 2014, The University of Minnesota conducted a study that showed minorities received nearly 40 percent more exposure to deadly air pollutants than Caucasian people in the United States.”

I think that this was an important documentary because it sheds light on the reality of power plants polluting African-American communities specifically and causing harm.

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