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Southern Lens is a showcase for independent film from and about the South, culled from film festivals and presented by South Carolina ETV. By turns warm, humorous, compelling, and heart-breaking, each film presents a place and time in Southern culture as seen through the eyes of one filmmaker.

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Southern Lens

Before Rosa: The Unsung Contribution of Sara Mae Flemming by Steve Crump



Seventeen months before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on an Alabama bus in 1955, a little-known Civil Rights heroine named Sara Mae Flemming refused to obey a similar ordinance on a bus in Columbia, S.C. Flemming’s story has largely faded from the public’s memory. “Before Rosa” tells of Flemming’s experience with an angry bus driver and her struggle to get her lawsuit against the bus company to court. Eventually, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that segregated seating in Flemming’s case was unconstitutional. The ruling became a precedent that played an important role later in the Parks case. Filmmaker Steve Crump is a news reporter in Charlotte, NC and produces black history documentaries as an independent producer for WTVI-TV, the PBS affiliate in Charlotte. Pictured are Sara Mae's brothers Odell and Malachi Flemming. (Photo courtesy of The State newspaper)

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