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Big Jim Folsom: The Two Faces of Populism examines the history and politics of the postwar South as seen through the story of Alabama governor James E. "Big Jim" Folsom. Nicknamed ‘Kissin’ Jim’ by the Northern press due to his fondness for women, Folsom in 1946 overturned the planter/big business oligarchy who had ruled the state since Reconstruction. Folsom sought to unify the interests of poor whites and blacks, giving them hope that the neglect they had suffered for a hundred years would be reversed. When he strongly supported voting rights for all citizens, Alabama was called ‘the most liberal state in the South.’ In the face of the Supreme Court’s school desegregation decision in 1954, Folsom maintained his moderate stance. He would never win election again. His ambitious protégé George Wallace parted company with Big Jim and began his career as another kind of populist, based on the politics of race.  
       
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Winner, 1997 International Documentary Association ABCNewsVideoSource Award; Southeastern Filmmaker Award, 1997 Atlanta Film Festival.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state partner of the NEH, the Alabama Power Foundation, the Blount Foundation, and the Southern Humanities Media Fund.

 

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