"100 Years from Mississippi"

January 20, 2023
100 Years from Mississippi

Buffalo, NY – In recognition of Black History Month, Canisius University will honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a film screening of the award-winning documentary “100 Years from Mississippi.”  The special showing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m. in the Regis Room, located on the second floor of the Richard E. Winter ’42 Student Center.  The event is free and open to the public.  

Written and directed by Buffalo native and Canisius University alumnus Tarabu Betserai Kirkland, “100 Years from Mississippi” is the true story of Mamie Lang Kirkland (Tarabu’s mother), whose family was forced to flee Ellisville in darkness from a growing mob of men determined to lynch her father and his friend.  Mamie’s family escaped but her father’s friend, John Hartfield, did not.  He suffered one of the most horrific lynchings during that era.  

Though Mamie vowed never to return to Mississippi, she did 100 years later at the convincing of her youngest child and filmmaker, Tarabu Kirkland.  He takes his mother back to Ellisville to tell her story, honor those who succumbed to the terror of racial violence, and give testimony to the courage and hope epitomized by many of her generation.  

The documentary is the recipient of several awards including the Black Reel Awards for Outstanding Independent Documentary, Best Documentary Feature from the National Black Film Festival and winner of the Best Long Documentary, presented by the International Black Film Festival.  

Tarabu Betserai Kirkland graduated from Canisius University in 1971.  He was the first president of the college’s Afro-American Society, established during the 1967-68 academic year.  

Canisius University is one of 27 Jesuit colleges in the nation and the premier private college in Western New York. Canisius prepares leaders – intelligent, caring, faithful individuals – able to pursue and promote excellence in their professions, their communities and their service to humanity.