The Free State of Jones (2016) Movie Script

Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
- Stay with me!
- Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
- Left! Left!
- Close that rank!
- Left, right, left!
- Steady, boy!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left of the colors, boys!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Guide right!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Top of the hill, boys!
Just over that Ridge!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!
Almost there, boy.
Almost there.
It's my leg.
I know it's your leg.
It hurts.
Yeah. They got ether.
Here we go. Here we go.
Hold pressure.
Hold pressure here.
Let's get this off you.
If they think you're an officer,
they'll fix you sooner.
Yeah, they're gonna fix you.
Here we go.
One, two, three.
We need clean water!
Hold pressure here.
The lord is
the stronghold of my life.
Captain Jeffrey Bailey here,
7th Tennessee.
Mini ball, left thigh.
I got a captain here!
Captain up front! Captain up front!
Hold him!
Hold him down!
Hold him!
Where they going?
That's Carolina 3rd. A bunch
of them are headed home.
Twenty negro law.
If you own 20 Negroes,
you get to go home.
Since when?
The first, I guess.
New conscription act.
Poor man's fightin'
a rich man's war.
You know they got a house in
Natchez with gold doorknobs.
Not gold-lookin'.
Gold. Real gold.
"But all their gold
and all their silver
will not protect them
from the wrath of the lord."
You so smart, Jasper, how
come you still here, huh?
"The oldest son
on such plantations
where 20 or more Negroes
are owned or leased
are hereby exempt in the armies
of the confederate states.
Furthermore, any plantation
where the total number of Negroes
owned or leased shall equal 40,
the eldest and second eldest shall
be exempt from military service."
That's you and a brother.
And then it goes up one family member
for every 20 Negroes after that.
So what, if we all chip in and buy us
one negro, we get a couple weeks off?
Ah, I swear,
I'm tired of it, Jasper...
Tired of helpin' them
fight for their damn cotton.
You don't fight anyway.
You're a nurse.
Yeah, you get gut-shot
out there tomorrow, will,
why don't you go find an artillery
officer, see if he can help you.
I ain't fightin' for cotton.
I'm fightin' for honor.
Oh, that's good, will.
I'd sure hate
to be fightin' for cotton.
Who's there?
Uncle newt.
That you, boy?
Come here.
Hey, hey, hey, hey.
What happened?
They-they took me,
and they took
the mule and our hogs,
half the corn crib,
and they told me
I'd been drafted.
Can I stay with you?
Of course you can, boy.
You're my kin.
They put me
with another company,
and I finally ran off
and I looked for you all day.
I found this man
and told him I was from Jones,
and he said that was
Mississippi 7th, and so...
Shh, shh, shh. I got you, boy.
I got you.
I got you. I got you.
I got you.
I got you.
You're with me.
You're with me now.
Are you gonna be there
with me tomorrow?
Yeah, I'm gonna be there
with you tomorrow.
You hear me? I'm gonna be
there with you tomorrow.
We're gonna make for a tree
line about a quarter mile out.
You don't listen to no sergeant, no
officers. Only me. You understand now?
When I tell you to go, move
fast and stay close to me.
All right?
You got a full load?
Half-cock, safe.
Full-cock, fire.
Ain't no different than shootin'
a bird or a deer, Daniel.
No different than that.
All right?
They're shelling us.
Come on. Move.
Right this way.
Stay low. Low.
Stay low.
See that rifle pit
about 50 yards out?
That's where we headin'.
That's where we're going.
You ready? You ready?
Let's go. Go! Go! Go!
Stay behind me!
Go down.
You all right? Huh?
You all right?
All right. All right.
All right, stay down.
They got sharpshooters
out there.
We're gonna make a way
for that tree line, all right?
Find some shelter and hide out.
You all right?
All right, let's go.
Stay low.
Whoa, whoa!
Careful. Down. Down.
Who you with?
Mississippi 5th, "f" company.
We all that's left.
All right, you're with us now. We're
makin' for that Ridge over to the right.
- Uh-huh.
- So fix bayonets!
Fix your bayonet, boy.
Yeah, I got it.
All right.
You ready? Ready?
All right.
On my command.
- Go! Go! Go!
- Go! Go! Go! Go!
Go, boy! Move!
Hold, hold, hold.
Hold, Daniel. Hold.
Uncle newt?
Uncle newt?
I got you, boy. It's gonna be all right.
It's all right.
It hurts.
I know it hurts.
Just hold on to me tight.
Hold on to me.
Am I gonna die? You're not gonna die.
I'm gonna fix ya.
Can I get some help right here?
I got a boy here.
I got a boy here.
I got a boy here.
And I got officers
I can't even get to.
It hurts.
I got you, boy.
I got you, boy.
I got you. I got you. I'm gonna get
you a doctor. Gonna get you a doctor.
Hang on. Hang on.
Can I have some water? Shh.
In a second. In a second.
I'm just so thirsty.
Why am I so thirsty?
Shh. Shh.
Hang on, boy.
Hang on, boy.
Hang on, boy.
Hang on. Hang on.
There we go. There we go.
There we go.
You love god, don't you, Daniel?
There we go.
I'm scared.
I know you are.
But you love god,
and god loves you.
You understand?
Jesus loves you, son.
You're not dying.
You're not dying.
You're not dying.
You're not...
You're not dying.
You know
they shoot deserters, don't you?
Well, they shoot everybody
around here anyway.
It don't seem to make no difference
where the bullet come from.
And you're stealing a mule.
You know, we can bury him
proper right here, newt.
We don't have to leave him.
Nah, he's going home, Jasper.
It's where he belongs.
Take my hardtack too.
It's a long trip.
Appreciate it.
He died with honor, newt.
No, will.
He just died.
I tried
to save him, Annie. I...
I did everything I could.
He... he...
It ain't your fault.
You didn't start
this war, did you?
Or drag him out of here.
He's my boy.
Oh, my boy.
They hung three deserters
down in Perry.
Didn't put 'em back in the army.
Just hung 'em.
Yeah, I got a leave.
No, you didn't.
A good mama deserves
to see her son again.
She don't deserve
to see him like that.
No, she don't.
"If I go up
to the heavens, you are there.
If I make my bed
in the depths, you are there.
Even in the darkness,
will not be dark to you.
The night will shine like day,
the darkness is as light to you.
- It is you who hath
possessed my reign.
And it is you who hath covered me in...
My mother's womb."
No, not my cloth!
I made that cloth!
Ma'am. Ma'am.
No! I made that cloth!
That's my loom! No! No!
Ma'am. Ma'am, stop it.
- That's for my baby!
- That's not what babies...
- we're just taking what's rightfully ours.
- Please make them stop.
You got the court order?
Yes, but...
What did the court order say?
We take 10%.
You're taking everything! Why are
you taking everything? Stop it!
They took everything
out the smokehouse.
And that ain't tax. They just ate it.
All that meal we ground.
- We'll get you more cornmeal.
- Of course we will.
Well, that ain't the point.
I grew that corn.
Everybody know
how to blow one of these?
Yes, sir.
Now, look here, they come back, blow that
as loud as you can as soon as you hear 'em.
- Yes, sir.
- I'm just over this Ridge here.
I'll be here soon.
You got any more of those?
Yeah, we need some more.
Gettin' hotter.
Let me feel him.
Come on, will.
Be a good boy.
He is a good boy. He's
just got a fever is all.
He's burnin' up.
Where you goin'?
To get a doctor.
You can't go in town.
They'll arrest you.
I'm gonna go to Sally's place,
have her fetch one.
You're going to that roadhouse?
We ain't got a doctor no more.
Doc Hacket moved to Alabama,
and Prentiss is off at the war.
Look, he's burnin' up, Sally,
and I can't go into town.
Well, there's this
creole slave over at Eakins.
Kind of healer.
I'll get George
to fetch her with a pass.
Eakins? Plantation?
She's not a field hand.
She's my house negro.
Now, you better
get out of here too.
Rebs come in here
all the time to get whiskey.
They sent me with a pass.
Yeah, yeah.
Come on.
Right this way.
He's burnin' up.
Can you help?
I'll try.
I need to boil some
water, to make a tea.
- I'll fetch you a bucket.
- I can fetch it.
No, you stay here.
I'll fetch it for you.
All right.
He's all cool now.
Probably gonna sleep a while.
He better?
He's fine.
That's my boy.
That's my boy.
There you are.
Thank you.
Oh, don't have to thank me.
I got loaned to you.
No, I do. I do.
Look here,
I... I ain't got no money,
but I want you
to have this, all right?
Th-that's gold.
I can't take that.
Oh, yes, you can.
But saving a life
ain't easy, yeah?
And when you do,
it's something special.
Thank you.
Thank you.
That's kind.
Now, here.
Here's your pass.
All rise.
Court is now in session.
Case number 0646.
The state of Mississippi
v. Davis knight.
That Davis knight
did knowingly and willfully
and feloniously
violate Mississippi law
by engaging in a marital union
with one Junie Lee Spradley,
a white woman.
That as the great-grandson
of Newton knight
and a negro slave
known commonly as Rachel,
he is of at least
one-eighth negro blood,
and as such meets
the minimum standard
to be considered a colored person
in the state of Mississippi.
What happened?
They told me gather up
all the clothes and blankets.
They'd be back for 'em
in an hour.
They told me round up the
hogs and put 'em in a pen.
- Who did?
- The cavalry officer and, uh, the...
Tax agent.
They gonna take my hogs?
No. No, they ain't.
'Cause, uh, we got nothin'
for the winter.
They ain't gonna take your hogs.
Girls, you know
how to shoot one of these?
It ain't real hard. It's
just loud the first time.
Come here to me, darlin'.
Here we go. Put this
here on your right hand.
Hold it right there
with your right hand.
There you go.
You feel that?
You feel that?
How many guns you got
in the house, ma'am?
Two. Three, with a pistol.
Good. Good.
See, now, here's the trigger.
You wanna fire it, you just pull this back.
Two clicks, pull that trigger.
All right, here they come.
You ready?
Easy, girls.
What do we have here?
Beg your pardon?
I said stop walking.
It's quite an army
you got there.
Three little girls with guns.
It's more like eight.
How come you ain't
up north fightin'?
How come you ain't?
'Cause I'm responsible for clothin'
and feedin' our loyal troops...
And tracking down deserters.
Nah, don't do that.
They gonna shoot me?
All's they gotta do
is go like that.
Last time I checked, the gun don't
care who's pulling the trigger.
We'll be back.
Hold steady on 'em, girls.
Lower your guns.
- There we go. There we go.
- Good job, girls. Good job.
All right. Listen. Y'all
gonna be fine, all right?
It's me they gonna be after.
It's me they gonna be after.
They got a slave patrol, newt.
Those are nigger dogs.
It was three little girls,
you hear? Alone.
Who ain't alone?
You think I ain't alone?
Why you always got to fight
everyone else's fight for them?
I can't do this
anymore, newt. Can't.
Buckshot, fresh powder horn.
Go! Go get him!
Can't stay here.
First place they're gonna come.
I'll get George to take you
out in the swamp.
There's some folks
out there that can help.
Yeah. I dropped
my gun and powder.
Sounds like you had a good time.
He's gonna need some food.
Got it right here.
- You know what to do?
- Mm-hmm.
- Mista newt, sir?
- Mm-hmm.
Whenever you ready.
- To the swamp?
- Yes, sir.
Newt, take your time.
There you go.
Mista newt.
Sorry. Look here.
Sit here.
You'll like this better.
They'll be here for you soon.
They will be here for you soon.
I know you.
Mm-hmm. I'm here
to show you through.
Come on.
You all right to walk?
Yeah. Just slow.
All right.
Now, walk where I walk.
Out there is deep.
Through here is shallow.
Careful now.
You got it.
Let's go.
They gonna fix you.
They runaways?
Ain't you?
Chewed up pretty bad.
Hound got him.
That's some fresh tea.
Mista newt.
Yeah. Let me see that there.
It ain't that bad.
You must be pretty brave then.
Y'all must taste like we do.
The way he latched onto you.
Just hold still now.
You'll be all right.
That's it.
Thank you, baby.
Mr. Whittington,
in your opinion,
Serena knight was no longer a resident
of Jones county, Mississippi,
by what date?
Well, roughly, the end
of 1863, early 1864,
when she moved to Georgia.
Then if Newton knight had
a child after the war...
A child to whom he gave his name...
that child could not have been...
Objection, your honor.
The witness is a census expert,
not an expert on
genealogy or paternity...
You don't have to be an expert
on much of nothin'
to know it's hard for two people to make a
baby when they're a thousand miles apart.
How you feelin'?
Better. Still a little sore,
but better.
Yeah, well, you'll be
sore for a little while.
What's your name?
Call me Moses.
Your mama name you that?
No, sir.
Picked that for myself.
Hey, you chose a good one.
Why y'all do that? Light
in a tree like that.
Hide the smoke. Don't go
up in a straight line.
Oh, yeah,
they're always lookin'.
We expensive.
How come they houndin' you?
'Cause I left.
How come?
Oh, it ain't my fight, you know.
Don't own no slaves.
Ain't gonna die so they can get
rich sellin' their cotton.
That's why we left too.
Fan. Ran.
Very good, girls.
Mat. Hat.
Now read this line again.
What are you doing?
Oh, I was just...
Don't go.
Thank you.
Ain't they got a chicken Coop?
Y'all ought to be grateful.
I can take back that molasses.
He didn't mean it.
Oh, molasses. I thought
this was whiskey.
Don't you get dizzy?
Lyin' like that?
Don't it make you dizzy?
Oh, no.
It don't bother me now.
I guess you get used
to anything.
No, you can't.
Where's Texas?
Texas. How far is that?
Well, it's pretty far.
What's in Texas?
My wife and, uh, my little boy.
When they...
When they sold them, I just...
I just ran.
I didn't think or nothin'.
I just...
Just took off.
When they caught me
and whipped me,
I just ran all over again.
Then they put this on me.
Don't make no difference though.
They can hitch me to a wagon,
and I'll pull that damn
thing all the way to Texas.
All right, look here.
I's a blacksmith.
I mean, I was.
I'd shoe horses.
Forged all kind of stuff...
Yokes, bits, ax blades.
I pound a lot of metal
in my life.
If you want,
I can get that thing off you.
You can't do that.
All that bangin'
will bring the hounds for sure.
How many hounds?
And the men
that go along with 'em.
How many men?
You ready?
I'm ready.
- You ready?
- I'm ready.
Oh, yeah!
All right,
everybody in half-cock?
You ain't gonna have a chance to
reload, so make your shot count.
All right, here they come.
Go to full-cock.
Wait for my word.
Come on! Go!
Come on! Go!
You know what this tastes like?
What's with them?
Just nobody done nothin'
like that for them before.
What's that say?
Right there.
What's that say?
It says Remington company,
Ilion, New York.
Left hand here.
Okay? You feel it?
Put your left leg out.
Get braced for it.
Now, you sit right in there.
Look right down this barrel. You
see that little bb on the end?
Whatever's at the end of this bb,
that's what you're aimin' at.
That's what you gonna hit.
All right?
You're locked and loaded.
Whenever you ready, get him.
Did you get him?
Get him again.
Jasper, it's all right.
Come on out now.
You ain't the only one.
Raise your hand.
That stuff don't belong to you.
Unhitch that wagon
and head off down the road.
Who are you?
The free men of Jones county?
That's what he said.
Well, I'm not gonna
concern myself
with five or six deserters who don't
have the courage to show their face.
You've got a quota to meet.
You're dismissed.
What do you say, Sumrall?
Well, there will be no
more dry firin' for you.
How you doin', Charles?
That's good, son.
Are you Newton knight?
Every day.
Where you from, boy?
And where were you?
Battle of Corinth.
Me too.
My brother said you
made him a private.
Did I?
Can I be a private too?
Well, I don't know.
He older or younger than you?
He's younger.
He's only 13.
I'll tell you what.
You can be a corporal.
That's better than a private.
At ease, corporal.
I brought you something.
You got one.
"Fi." "Figt."
Sounds like a f-y-t-e.
Fight. Fight.
Fight. But you got
a "g" right there.
Mm-hmm. But it's
a silent "g" again.
The "gh" is always silent,
like "light," "right."
Right. Slight.
Uh... uh...
But it's a "gh," and it's
silent when you use the "h."
What a man grows
with his own two hands
ought to belong to him, yeah?
Yes, sir.
How's that scripture go, Jasper?
This here's from the
book of Galatians.
"Be not deceived.
God is not mocked,
for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap."
What you sow you should reap.
What you put in the ground, you
should take out of the ground.
Yeah. You say they takin' 10%.
No, they leave us 10%, sir.
Leave 10%.
You think they takin' 10% from that
plantation owner over in Natchez?
No, sir.
- You think they takin' 10% from him?
- No!
How about this? What do you say we
go out there and we pick it clean?
There's 100 of us. We pick it
clean in one day. We do that?
We pick it clean, hide it away.
We divide it amongst
ourselves later on.
Meanwhile, by the time they get
down here, we done scattered.
- How's that sound to you?
- Yeah!
Whose corn is it?
Whose corn is it?
It's our corn! Sounds like
perfect charity to me.
Let's do it!
Find a red cob,
get a shot of corn whiskey.
Where is your corn?
Your corn.
Where's your corn?
Field's picked clean.
Oh, yeah. We picked it.
So where is it?
Good morning!
Step on down, lieutenant.
Hold on, all right?
Just hold on.
Hey, I know you.
Yeah, you the one that stole
our corn and our mule.
There it is.
You like that sound?
It's just some corn.
You'd kill a man for some corn?
Well, he's asking
if I'd kill a man for some corn.
I don't know.
See, lieutenant,
you steal our corn,
we got nothin' to feed the hogs.
If we can't feed the hogs, we got
nothin' to put in the smokehouse.
We got nothin' to put in the
smokehouse, we starve in the winter.
That's murder, ain't it?
You know what the penalty for
murder is, don't you, lieutenant?
Yes, sir.
Yeah, you do.
Yes, sir.
Come here.
What rank I make you?
Corporal, sir.
You a lieutenant now.
Let's get that coat off.
- Help him out, Thomas.
- Yeah!
Two hundred men?
Maybe 100.
It's hard to say.
They made us lie face down
in the dirt till they left.
What is that?
Newt. You sure this
is a good idea?
That's a lot of smoke.
Cavalry can't get
into those swamps.
And if we go in on foot,
we'll get ambushed.
So you're scared of 'em?
Only in there.
Stomp that out with you.
Get a box up here.
Throw a box up in here.
Put those stakes right down here, boys.
Right here. There we go.
Get you a handkerchief.
I got plenty for everybody now.
There we go.
That fat, that's where all
the flavor is... in that fat.
Who wants that?
Get right here.
It's falling right off the bone.
You don't even need
those knives.
What are you doin', nigger?
That ain't for you.
Put it back.
Put it back, nigger.
How you ain't?
I said, how you ain't?
How I ain't what?
What he says, ward,
is how you ain't a nigger.
I mean, they just
pick cotton for 'em.
You was willin'
to get killed for 'em.
For lord's sake,
play somethin', will you, Lucas,
before a whole new war
breaks out here.
You Sally?
I am.
You're a businesswoman.
When was the last time
you saw any real whiskey?
Irish whiskey.
This... is from Boston.
We can run anything
through that blockade,
but the whiskey
always seems to get here first.
I suppose the only
neutral parties in any war
are the people
makin' money from it.
Just wanna give you
the opportunity
to make a little more.
We need to get a message to him.
- Him?
- Stop. I don't have the Patience for that.
Tell your unionist friend
that if he will disband
this little... little, um...
Company of theirs,
we will rescind
the hanging notice
and Grant him a full pardon.
All he has to do
is come out of that swamp.
He can go right back
in the army.
Two barrels of molasses, a
hundred pounds of wheat flour,
three barrels of whiskey...
And five hundred dollars.
Is that Yankee currency?
See what I can do.
Take that back to her.
Yeah, why would you
trust someone
who just burned your farm, son?
I'm not sayin' I trust 'em.
I'm just sayin'.
That you want it to stop?
Yeah, so do I.
Thomas, I don't think that, uh, turnin'
ourselves in is gonna stop 'em.
I know you lost
your farm, and I...
I know your mama's hurtin'.
All right? But that does not
make these men your friends.
We're your friends.
Right here.
Look out there.
That's your friend.
Evenin', Jesse.
Uh... I brought you
some biscuits.
Smell fresh.
They is.
Thank you.
I better go.
What's wrong?
- What's wrong?
What happened? Hmm?
What happened?
I wouldn't let him.
All the other times,
I just let him.
'Cause what can I do?
It's just...
And I tell myself
I'm somewhere else
and it's not like
it's happening to me.
But this time, I couldn't.
I couldn't anymore.
And I screamed...
And I screamed.
Look, look, look.
I can read this now.
"In the beginning...
The heaven...
And the earth.
And god said,
let there be light."
All right. Look here.
There's a full troop transport
headed this way out of meridian.
Got 50 soldiers.
It's 15 cars long.
We gonna blow the tracks
with powder, hear?
It's a train?
Yeah, it's a train.
And guns, ammo and artillery.
What's that got to do
with my farm?
It has everything to do
with your farm, ward.
- How? -'Cause they're the
folks that burned it.
So we fightin'
for the union now?
No, we're not fightin'
for the union,
but we are fightin'
the same people they are.
For different reasons.
These folks got plantations
from here to the Mississippi.
I know.
They're rich. So what?
Are we gonna start killin'
rich people?
It's why they're rich, ward.
Don't you understand?
You, me, all of us.
We're all out there dying
so they can stay rich.
You own any slaves, ward?
You got any Negroes
to fight for?
No. But it sure looks
like you do.
That's fine, ward.
You leave any time you want.
Save your farms. All you got
to do is lay down your arms.
You ain't being disloyal.
You're just being smart.
Your mama don't need you dead.
She's done lost her farm.
She don't need to lose
her boys too.
You're sure he said all of 'em?
Just said they
wanted to come out, sir.
Didn't say how many.
They're coming out.
They're coming out.
Is that him?
Can't tell.
How many are there?
Hard to say.
Four or five maybe.
Sweet Jesus. It's boys.
Forty soldiers
capture a bunch of boys
with broken shotguns.
Just hang 'em.
These boys, these...
These young men.
They was your friends.
Your cousins.
Your brothers and your kin.
But to those soldiers
who didn't know 'em,
they was just niggers.
They was just
somebody else's nigger.
So somehow, someway
or sometime, everybody...
Is just somebody else's nigger.
Mr. Moses, are you a nigger?
No, I'm not.
Then what are you?
Freeman, captain.
Why's that?
'Cause you cannot own
a child of god.
No, you cannot, can you?
You can own a horse,
you can own a mule
or cow or an ox, but you...
You cannot own a child of god.
See anything?
He won't miss this though.
He's out there.
Tell 'em to move up!
Lead with your left flank!
Damn it!
Newton, I...
I knew your daddy.
- Let's go.
- Get up here up front. Reload.
- We need more powder!
Reloading, boys! Don't break your fire!
Keep punching, boys!
Up here! Up here!
Stay down.
Cover the Cannon!
Cannon in position!
Fire! Powder!
Move! Move!
Cover fire!
Go, go, go!
- Ho! Ho!
- Keep 'em up.
- Hands up!
Ah-ah-ah-ah. Oh, up.
There we go.
- Quickly, children!
- Hurry, Samantha!
How many?
This group there's 40.
Got another 20 at Kerman's farm.
Only 12 of us
at that railhead at Paulding.
Well, that's light.
Could send Jeb and his brothers.
Yeah, let's do that.
- All right, hold on.
- All right, all right.
Here you go.
I can go up there.
How long will it take
to get there?
Three, four days,
if there's no patrols.
All right.
Tell Sherman
that we hold everything
from the Pascagoula
to the Alabama border.
Tell him we need some artillery.
Twenty pieces: 15 cannons,
five mortars would be fine.
Rifles. Rifles we need.
Make it 300.
We also need some cavalrymen. Fifty.
Fifty men, that's all.
- He can spare that easily.
- Yeah, he can.
He sends this, we can keep
this place forever, men.
Shh. It's okay. It's okay.
They control everything
from meridian to the Pascagoula.
They've seized Ellisville,
hold all of Jones, Jasper, Perry
and half of Smith counties.
They've got 250 men,
maybe even runaway slaves who,
frankly, sir,
don't have much to lose.
That's all they sent?
- You told 'em we took three counties?
- Of course.
Hundred rifles.
They say it's not "strategic."
Hmm. - Sherman wonders if
we're a "real" company.
Real company?
You know, it ain't exactly
what they're used to, newt.
A bunch of freed slaves,
Holdin' down most of
southeast Mississippi. Yeah.
Took three counties.
Beat an entire division.
We did.
They don't care.
Well, that's fine.
We're back in the swamp.
They can't get their horses in there,
no matter how many they bring.
Take the boys back in.
We'll wait till Lowry...
Some of the boys
don't wanna go, newt.
With that much cavalry
coming down here,
they're not gonna have farms
left to protect.
There's plenty
left to fight for, will.
Sure there is.
There sure is.
But they can get
to mobile from here
and get out of here
before Lowry shows up.
And that's what they want?
They want your permission.
And what do you want, will?
I want to stay here and fight.
But they're boys, newt.
Lots of 'em.
Might as well be.
They need somebody
to get 'em through.
So you want my permission too.
I guess I do. Yeah.
Take this.
Pretty lucky.
- No, that's your best gun.
- I know.
I don't want you
to stop fighting.
All right, everybody,
listen up here.
I know y'all been wondering
what it is we gonna do next.
I want y'all to know
that you all fought bravely.
That flag right there
tells the tale.
Right now, what we do know
is that they're sending
a whole regiment of cavalry
this way.
That's a hundred horses.
We can't fight that,
least not in the open anyhow.
We was hoping to get some help
from general Sherman,
but it looks like
that ain't coming either.
Says he won't recognize us.
So it seems that we don't got
no country on either side.
And that's all right.
I guess we're kind of our own country.
That's right, newt.
If we're honest about it, hadn't we
been our own country for a long time?
- Yes, sir.
- That's true.
Now, Jasper here, he, uh,
obviously a lot more learned
than I am.
He was saying that, uh,
if in fact
we are our own country,
well then, by god, we ought to
stand up and declare it.
Yes, sir.
Even if they push us
back in the swamps,
if we're willing to die
for something,
we sure ought to be able
to say what it is out loud.
- Yeah.
- Absolutely.
Jasper, let me see
that paper there.
From this day forward,
"we declare the land north
of the Pascagoula swamps,
south of enterprise and east of the
Pearl river to the Alabama border
to be a free state of Jones."
"And as such,
we do hereby proclaim
and affirm
the following principles.
Number one:
No man oughta stay poor
so another man can get rich."
"Number two:
No man oughta tell another man what he's
gotta live for or what he's gotta die for."
"Number three:
What you put in the ground
is yours to tend and harvest, and ain't no man
oughta be able to take that away from you."
Number four:
"Every man's a man."
If you can walk on two legs,
you're a man.
It's as simple as that.
- But we won.
- I know.
And they said...
General Sherman, he said...
- I know what they said.
- He said 40 acres and a mule
for every Freedman
and they families.
They took that back.
Who did?
President did.
There's a new president now
name of Johnson.
So who gets all of this?
He does.
- Eakins.
- Eakins?
Eakins. He gets to come back?
- Yeah, if he takes an oath.
- What kind of oath?
Swearing to be loyal
to the union.
Ain't no union, man.
- No? - I can take an oath
swearing to be a canary.
- It don't mean I can fly.
- That's it.
I don't understand.
Are we free or we ain't free?
You understand.
We're free and we ain't free.
Place your left hand on the
Bible and raise your right.
I, James Eakins,
I, James Eakins,
do solemnly swear in the
presence of almighty god...
Do solemnly swear in the
presence of almighty god...
That I will henceforth
faithfully support, protect
and defend the constitution
of the United States...
That I will henceforth
faithfully support, protect
and defend the constitution
of the United States...
And the union
of the states thereunder.
And the union
of the states thereunder.
So help me god.
So help me god.
Welcome back.
Thank you.
Hmm. I ain't leavin'.
We got to.
You got to leave too.
- Why? -'Cause the
winds is shiftin'.
I don't care. And you
can't fight it this time.
Where we gonna go?
Huh? Go where?
You sell this place,
we could buy all of soso.
Yeah, and grow what, huh? Can't get
nothin' in that ground up there.
You grew crops in a swamp.
I think you can coax
a little corn out of soso.
All the way through?
All the way.
Rachel, students:
Man, pan, tan,
ran, fan.
Very good.
Second row, c-o-b is...
Rachel, students:
job, mob, rob.
Need some bailin' wire.
That's a cent a foot.
I'll take 60 feet.
Fixing a fence?
Yeah, that's what
bailing wire's for.
You up in soso, right? Mm-hmm.
Thought it was just
a bunch of niggers up there,
cap'n newt.
No, Chester.
Ain't no niggers
up there at all.
Got nowhere to go.
They said you was here
now making a new farm.
Yeah, I am.
I'm sorry. I just...
I don't know where to go.
Rebs burned my first farm.
Sherman burned my second.
Guess they agree on that.
Yeah, they do.
We walked all the way
from Birmingham.
He's seen things
nobody should see.
You stay here.
I know y'all
have your own home now.
No, that's fine.
You stay here with us.
There's a little shack
on the other side of the farm.
We could fix it for you.
- Y'all don't have to do that.
- No, we do.
You're kin.
What you say I teach you
how to fish? Yeah?
You know I'm your pa?
Yeah, I know.
Got something for you.
Look at that.
That's yours now, all right?
Take good care of that.
Oh, let's not
start cryin' now, huh?
Ain't that bad of a house.
Y'all come on inside.
Come on.
The prosecution would lead you
to believe... go on in now.
That when Serena knight left Jones
county in the middle of the war,
she never came back.
Their entire case
hinges on the idea
that if newt knight had
a second child after the war,
that child had to be
with Rachel knight.
But there's a problem with that,
ladies and gentlemen,
because as these census records
clearly indicate,
Serena knight
came home to soso in 1865.
Two women...
Living on one farm...
At the same time.
Now, normally
in a court of law...
We have trouble
proving who the father is.
But in this strange,
strange case,
we have trouble
proving the mother.
Time has a way
of changing things.
Mr. newt!
Mr. newt!
Mr. newt!
Whoa, whoa, whoa, hey, hey, hey.
He gone.
What? What?
He gone down there.
He got a gun.
Who? Moses?
Uh-huh. They took him.
They took our boy.
Who did? A bunch of men from Eakins.
First thing this mornin'.
Sir, he got a gun.
Stay back now!
Moses, stop!
Stop, hear?
You gonna get killed.
It ain't you.
It ain't your fight!
I'm goin' with you.
You his daddy now?
No, sir.
Huh? I'm his daddy.
It's my boy.
It's your boy.
I'm goin' with you. This
is the only help I need.
I'm goin' with you.
They'll arrest me.
They'll kill you.
Can't nobody own my boy now!
No, sir.
It's your boy.
I'm tired. Yes, sir.
Let's go get him.
You and me.
Come on now.
That's what we gonna do.
That's my boy.
They'll arrest me.
They'll kill you.
Don't worry. It's me, your uncle newt.
I'm taking you out of here.
Right now?
Yeah, right now.
Come on.
Here we go.
Hold it!
Where you going with that boy?
Taking him home.
We got papers on that boy.
"That the defendant,
Newton knight,
did on November 14, 1865,
intervene and interfere
in the lawful apprenticeship
of a negro child in violation
of Mississippi law."
A what? Apprenticeship?
What is a lawful apprenticeship,
To quote
the statute on apprenticeship...
"If any apprentice
shall leave the employment
of his or her master
without consent,
said master may pursue
and recapture the apprentice
and bring him before
any justice of the peace,
whose duty it shall be
to remand said apprentice
to the service
of his or her masters."
- You done yet?
- You, sir, are out of order.
No, I'm not out of order,
I understand this quite clearly.
Y'all get your land back.
Then you go and work up
some fancy law just last week
that gets this boy back in the
fields picking cotton for you.
Mr. knight, you're gonna get
your chance to talk.
No, I'm gonna settle this
right here and now.
How much, huh? How much?
You buying and selling people.
How much, Mr. Eakins? Hmm?
How much for me to buy back this
here lawful apprenticeship, huh?
That's $70.
That do it?
Fair enough.
Fair enough. Yeah.
Let's go.
Let's go.
- No more auction block for me.
- No more, no more.
No more drivin' stacks for me.
No more, no more.
No more pounding salt for me.
No more, no more.
No more auction block for me.
No more, no more.
Union league! Union league!
Union league! Union league!
Union league!
Union league!
The meeting of the soso
and Jones county union league
will officially come to order.
Here it is.
Right here.
Congress just passed
an amendment
to the United States
"Article 15, section 1.
The right of citizens
of the United States to vote...
Shall not be denied
or abridged...
By the United States
or by any state
on account of race,
or previous condition
of servitude."
That means
when we was all slaves.
We got the right to vote now.
Congress done passed a law.
Yeah, it's a black church, Jasper,
but it's a union church as well.
They fought beside us, and our boys got
as much to lose in this than anyone.
I know. Then get 'em to
come to one meeting.
Get 'em to come to one
union league meeting.
They gonna see the fight ain't over.
They ain't gonna come.
They just ain't.
Their war is over.
It's over.
You know better than that.
God bless you, newt.
You are the most stubborn man
I ever met in my life.
It ain't just for us.
All right?
It's for everybody.
Black, white, rich, poor.
It's for our oppressors
who don't know
what's good for them yet.
It's for everybody
who came before us
who couldn't even read
this ballot.
It's for our children,
who, lord willing, won't have to
shed blood for it like we have.
And it's for their children
and their children's children.
Come on. Push!
One more good push.
- Aaah!
- I see it coming. One more.
One more.
There it is!
Oh, your baby!
I got your baby!
Look at that nose.
Do he look black
or white to you?
Well, I don't know.
Neither, I guess.
You just a brand-new thing,
ain't you?
Yes, you is.
Your honor, a new piece of
evidence has come to our attention
that we would like to introduce
as people's exhibit 7.
Objection, your honor. We weren't
noticed on this piece of evidence.
Well, I wasn't exactly noticed
on his census report either.
What exactly is this new piece
of evidence, counselor?
The knight family Bible,
in newt knight's own hand.
How much y'all need?
A lot more than this.
This spindle.
I'll take him.
Oh. There, darling.
It's all right.
It's all right.
It's okay, baby.
It's okay.
It's okay.
Shh, shh, shh, shh.
Look at that.
You got him to stop.
man just wants to be
listened to, right?
Especially these men.
Getting chilly.
Hmm, it is.
You ain't got to fill it out now.
I'll fill it out for you.
You gonna register.
You get to vote.
You get to vote in public and
you get to vote for black folks.
Vote for black folks?
Yes, sir.
Black judges,
maybe even a black sheriff.
I don't know.
That sound like heaven,
and I ain't ready to die yet.
All right. I'm gonna
need your whole name.
Ed-Edward James.
Edward James. Edward James.
Yes, sir.
And, uh,
you know how old you are?
No, sir.
No. Thirty?
1835 maybe.
That's what we gonna say.
All right.
Don't forget now.
Yes, sir. They might ask
you some questions.
What's your name?
Thomas. Watson.
Samuel Whitman. That's a good name.
Strong name.
Joseph Thomas.
Joseph Thomas. Okay.
We gonna change some things.
We just got to believe.
- You know where you was born?
- Natchez.
You know your age?
I'm 30.
Thirty years... what's your last name?
And what about your father?
- What's your mama's name?
- Meryl.
All right.
Where you going, boy?
Hold up there!
Hear that man
talkin' to you, boy?
Hey, boy!
Talking to you, nigger!
Lord, today we bring you
our-our brother...
To take into your loving arms.
To hold and shelter...
And to bless
with life everlasting.
Lord, if it's the good
that you seek in men,
then you ain't never
gonna find no better
than Mr. Moses Washington.
Man had so many reasons to be
full of hate, yet he never was.
That, lord, is one of
your greatest miracles.
So let us not weep.
Let us not shed
a tear here today...
'Cause since the day
I knew him...
All he ever wanted to do
was get free.
And now he is.
Moses deserved
a better world than this.
And now he's got one.
I guess that's it.
It ain't but noon.
Others could show up.
Nah, they're scared, Jasper.
Scared's a powerful thing.
Don't seem too American for an election
to be over 'fore it starts, does it?
Well, we got 22
registered Republicans here.
We're damn sure gonna vote.
Election day, ain't it?
Sure is.
We'd like republican tickets.
Mmm. We ain't got those yet.
Just the democrat tickets.
We'll wait.
Might be a pretty long wait.
Let me explain something to you.
These men are here to vote.
And they mind dying
a whole lot less than you do.
I'll see if I can find any.
No! No!
- Get him up!
Ain't just for you to decide.
That child has a choice.
I didn't have no choice.
What kind of life
will be better for him?
That ain't the point.
I don't want my boy
to get lynched.
Or beat.
I want him to go to a school.
I don't want him to drop his eyes
every time a white man walk by.
I don't want him to be a "boy"
no more once he turn into a man.
Don't you want that too?
Course I do.
We got to go up north.
It ain't your fault
we lost that war.
I know you tried to win it
all by yourself.
This is our home.
It's our home.
We would like to offer you
a proposal, Mr. knight.
This book
is pretty conclusive evidence.
In fact, in all my years
of prosecuting,
I never seen a more damning
piece of evidence.
Now, Mr. knight,
I don't believe you
really knew which side
of the family you were on.
What's your offer?
We have no desire to send
your client to jail, Mr. oaks,
but we can't tolerate
this kind of example either.
So if he will get
this marriage annulled,
leave the state of Mississippi,
then we'll agree to drop
all charges against him.
You mean, I end my marriage?
In case you haven't been here for
the past three weeks, Mr. knight,
your marriage is neither
a lawful nor proper union.
Proper union?
I was married
in this courthouse.
I was married
in this courthouse!
But where we gonna go? We can't
get married anywhere else.
Up north, I guess.
We don't know anybody up north.
I understand your client wishes
to change his plea, counselor.
Yes, he does, your honor.
Is this true,
Mr. knight?
No, it's not, your honor.
Mr. oaks!
- If I could just... -your honor,
I'm not changing my plea.
- 'Cause I'm not guilty of anything.
Young man,
I don't appreciate these games, and I am
tempted to rescind your bail right now.
Your honor... you can
rescind anything you want,
but I'm not changing my plea.
Bailiff will take the defendant into
custody. Bail is hereby rescinded.
Your honor...
You missed your chance,
Mr. oaks.
- I love you, honey.
- I love you too.
I love you, honey.
I love you too.