The Parchman Hour

In the summer of 1961, the fiery first months of America’s civil rights movement, waves of young people rode buses into the heart of the Deep South. Mostly college students, these interracial groups challenged Jim Crow laws that segregated interstate travel. Their bravery helped change the course of American history.

Many of the Freedom Riders were brutally attacked, arrested, and imprisoned in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm Penitentiary. There they invented an ingenious pastime to help them endure: a live variety show inspired by programs then popular on radio and television. Jokes, stories, singing and Bible readings sprang from every cell. This nightly event became known as “The Parchman Hour.”



The Parchman Hour: World Premiere of Recent History at PlayMakers
By Jeffrey Rossman
October 29, 2011

PlayMakers Rep’s The Parchman Hour
By Byron Woods
November 02, 2011

“The Parchman Hour” Is an Episodic But Eloquent 50th-Anniversary Tribute to the 1961 Freedom Riders
By Robert W. McDowell
Triangle Arts & Entertainment
November 04, 2011


An Hour on Stage: Mike Wiley directs the world professional premiere of ‘The Parchman Hour’
By Nihdi Singh
The Daily Tar Heel
October 25, 2011