Lalee: No Better Off Today | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Lalee: No Better Off Today

Gary Pettus has a good follow-up today on the story of Lalee Wallace, a Delta grandmother who was the subject of an HBO documentary. The JFP did a story about Lalee and the film way back in our first issue. The story shows that little has changed for poor people like Lalee in the Delta -- as if a film could change a system engrained by years of slavery, Jim Crow and poverty:

If you're trying to look on the bright side of Laura Lee Wallace's life, it helps to be half-blind. There's a hole in her bathroom ceiling, but at least the rain leaks into the tub. Roaches crawl inside her refrigerator, but at least they're small. The pipes in her mobile home broke, but at least a neighbor gives her water. She suffered a stroke, but at least she can still walk.

Laura Lee Wallace of the Delta said Monday that her life has not changed much since she was featured in a documentary.

Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton, a documentary produced by New York-based Maysles Films for HBO, saw limited theatrical release. It won the award for documentary cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001 and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature in 2002.

In many ways, Wallace is worse off than she was more than three years ago when the world discovered her in the award-winning documentary Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton.

This raisea the question of the limits of private "benevolence." That is, these are policy issues, and it will take the state and its populace to figure out how to reverse these cycles of poverty.

Previous Comments


i dont get it these people turn profits off of these people and just leave them as they found them didnt jim dollarhide have something to do with this film i met him at JSU talking about this documentary in a documentary class i took


They didn't call the film: "The Legacy of Cotton" for nothing, skipp. That means the legacy of slavery. Dollarhide did some of the filming but wasn't a principal in the film, as I understand it, skipp.


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