Two Towns of Jasper

Black and white residents of Jasper, Texas react after an African American man was murdered by three white men.

Film Signature Image
Premiere Date
January 22, 2003
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2002 Pan African Film Festival-Best Documentary
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    2002 Double Take Documentary Festival-Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award
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    2004 Peabody Awards-George Foster Peabody Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2004 duPont Awards-Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award
  • Producer

    Marco Williams

    Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator, best known for Two Towns of Jasper, which won a Peabody Award and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. His directing credits include: The Undocumented (Independent Lens/PBS); Inside the New Black Panthers (National Geographic); Banished (Independent Lens/PBS); Freedom Summer (History Show more Channel); I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education (MTV); MLK Boulevard: The Concrete Dream (Discovery Times); Making Peace: Rebuilding our Communities (PBS); The Pursuit of Happiness: With Arianna Huffington (PBS); Without a Pass (PBS); In Search of Our Fathers (Frontline/PBS); and From Harlem to Harvard (The Learning Channel). In addition to the Peabody, Williams’ awards include a Beacon, an Alfred I duPont, a Pan African Film Festival Outstanding Documentary Award, a Full Frame Documentary Festival Spectrum Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists First Place Salute to Excellence Award. Show less

    Headshot of man

    Whitney Dow

    Whitney Dow is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator, whose work has focused on race and identity for more than two decades. His directorial credits include I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, POV’s Two Towns of Jasper, and the Independent Lens documentaries When the Drum is Beating and The Big Payback.

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    The Film

    In 1998 in Jasper, Texas, James Byrd Jr., a black man, was chained to a pick-up truck and dragged to his death by three white men. The town was forever altered, and the nation woke up to the horror of a modern-day lynching. Two film crews, one black and one white, set out to document the aftermath by following the trials of the local men charged with the crime. The result is an explicit and troubling portrait of race, one that asks how and why a crime like this could have occurred.