Lillian Smith Documentary


Lillian Smith was one of the first white southern authors to speak out publicly against the evils of segregation.

She was shamed, ridiculed and silenced for her beliefs.

But she inspired others to fight for the dream of living in a just society.

Her voice is just as important today as it was throughout the 1930s-1950s.


This documentary will explore her courageous legacy and the life journey that led to her awakening, from her childhood experiences in a small southern town (Jasper, Fla.), to her years of living abroad in China, to directing a girls’ summer camp in North Georgia's Screamer Mountain.

By the time she published a bestselling novel in 1944, her moral compass was finely tuned to the changes needed in the southern U.S., and she spent the next two decades confronting the ugly institution of segregation, saying that it harmed whites as much as blacks. Today her creative spirit lives on at the Lillian E. Smith Center, Piedmont College.


Beginning in fall 2017, we'll be talking to people who knew Lillian Smith personally as well as scholars of southern literature and history.

We'll also be talking about problems our society is facing today--the same problems of racism and segregation that Lillian Smith confronted from the 1930s until her death in 1966. 


We have received seed funding from Georgia Humanities and the Lillian E. Smith Center at Piedmont College to begin this project.

Please contact the filmmakers, Hal Jacobs or Henry Jacobs, if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the film in either your name or in honor of someone else. Supporters will be recognized in the film's credits.

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E-mail Filmmakers: Hal Jacobs | Henry Jacobs



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New Georgia Encyclopedia Article

Oxford American article by Diane Roberts (2016)