June 7, 2012 marks the 14 year anniversary death of James Byrd Jr. The award winning documentary “Byrd: The Life and Tragic Death of James Byrd, Jr.” directed by Ricky Jason, featuring Dick Gregory, Martin Luther King III, Susan Sarandon, and friends of James Byrd, Jr. was to make a first time premiere in Jasper, TX. Due to racial tensions going on in the town right now, the executive producers and promoters decided not to show the award winning documentary of James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, TX.
Some factors that went into the decisions to not show the award winning documentary in Jasper was that since James Byrd, Jr’s death, his grave has been desecrated twice with racial slurs and a fence had to be put up around his grave to protect it. Also, there is a continuing feud within the Byrd family.
When making the documentary, his sisters were asked to participate in the making of the film but they denied because they didn’t want to be in the film if James Byrd’s children were participating. Another factor that went into the decision is the current situation with Mayor Mike Lout and Jasper’s first black police chief, Rodney Pearson. The town of Jasper has lawsuits filed against it for racial discrimination and the racial tensions are too high right now.
Due to all of the circumstances above, Jason said that they will never show the film in Jasper, TX. The town has not changed since James Byrd, Jr.’s death. For additional information, please contact 409-543-5737.