THE STORY: When May and Charlie joined hundreds of other Americans who went to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 for a massive voter registration drive, they had no idea their lives were about to change forever. As students at Howard University, their campus activism had been met with calls to their parents and threats of expulsion. The stakes in Mississippi were a lot higher. White supremacists, outraged at the challenge to their segregated way of life, responded with violence that left three civil rights workers dead and many wounded. Years later, May and Charlie are still searching for a way back from the damage that was done to them during that long ago “Freedom Summer.” Unable to confide even in her best friend, Rosa, about the demons that haunt her dreams and twist Charlie’s love for her into something she can no longer recognize, May is convinced that if she can just get Charlie to leave Detroit and cross the bridge to Canada, they can start a new life. But when Rosa’s friend Tyrone gets Charlie a job as a truck driver, the madness of that summer bubbles over until it threatens all of their very lives. BOURBON AT THE BORDER takes a look at the lives of two ordinary people who gave everything they had to the African–American freedom struggle but who have now been largely forgotten. In telling May and Charlie’s story, BOURBON AT THE BORDER puts a human face on the unknown soldiers of the civil rights movement by refusing to romanticize them even as it honors their specific sacrifices and the price they paid.
“A tingling story of the ghosts of a Mississippi summer…Once again, as in Cleage’s Flyin’ West and Blues for an Alabama Sky, the characters ring marvelously true. They are, by turns, funny and earthy and tingling with poetic metaphor…surprisingly heartbreaking…” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution.