Segments in this Video

Marshall, Texas: Small Town America (02:28)


Residents of Marshall, Texas share memories about growing up in the small town covering topics from the recession to racism. Bill Moyers explains the important role memories play in history.

Small Town America (03:32)

Bill Moyers explains why he chose the small town of Marshall, Texas as the subject for this show about the 20th century. On a return visit to the town he points out the changes it has undergone over the years.

Religion in Marshall (04:17)

Bill Moyers describes changes that have taken place in Marshall, Texas since he moved away 30 years ago. Friday night football and Sunday morning church services are two things that remain the same.

Texas Town (02:15)

Marshall, Texas is a town where rich and poor don't live far from each other. In the fields cattle have replaced cotton and monuments to Texas heroes aren't hard to find. It is a new town perched on the memories of one that's gone.

Railroads in Marshall (03:38)

Bill Moyers recalls childhood memories of Marshall, Texas. He and Hobart Key discuss the decline of railroad transport.

Small Town Stories (04:59)

Bill Moyer tells the legend of Caddo Lake. He talks with a local resident born in 1901 who has spent his whole life in Marshall.

Good Ole Days (03:24)

Bill Moyers talks to a local Marshall resident who made a name for himself as town constable and moonshine maker.

Small Town Values (02:03)

Bill Moyers talks about the old days in Marshall, Texas when everybody was "somebody". He calls the small town familiarity the best safety net a kid could have.

Small Town Roles (04:19)

Bill Moyers sits down with his old classmate Joe Golden who is now a successful writer living in Washington D.C. They talk about the good ole days as well as the restrictions that come with growing up in a small town.

Importance of Reading (05:36)

Joe Golden explains to Bill Moyers how books helped him get out of his small town. He remembers getting hassled for borrowing books from the "Black college". Two former teachers recall the old days in Marshall, Texas.

Small Town Entertainment (03:30)

Two former teachers from Marshall, Texas talk about how kids used to play in the old day. They recall a time when children used their imaginations and the Saturday night movie was a regular family event.

Live by the Whistle (02:35)

Two former teachers from Marshall, Texas tell an anecdote about a fellow teacher and the day she realized she didn't have to wake up to the railroad whistle.

Saturdays in a Small Town (03:14)

Saturdays in Marshall were a big event each week. Current and former residents of the town recall the days when shops were segregated. They describe the local movement to ban alcohol in 1912.

Shared Values of the Old South (02:47)

Before the Civil War east Texas was settled by small farmers and large plantation owners who brought the economy and values of the slave system, which they fought to keep.

Mimosa Hall Cotton Plantation (05:06)

Bill Moyers describes growing up in a town that was on the Confederate side of the Civil War. A former cotton plantation is now the site of a museum. Bill Moyers is shown the graves of people who owned the plantation as well as former slaves.

Remnants of Confederate Culture in the 20th Century (03:00)

Bill Moyers asks a Marshall resident to explain what effect Civil War values have on the town. She recalls someone saying the Civil War was lost in 1964, the day integration was brought in.

A Town Divided (01:46)

Twenty years ago Marshall. Texas officially ceased to be two separate towns. Joe Golden recalls a time when Black kids were not allowed to play with Whites. He describes the day he realized there was a dark side to his small town.

Habits of a Small Southern Town (03:33)

Bill Moyer describes Marshall, Texas as a town whose history took precedence over its morals. The town was divided except for the music. Students from Wiley and Bishop, the two Black colleges, brought change to the town.

Segregation "Etiquette" in the South (03:50)

Dr. James Farmer speaks about freedom riders in the South. He describes Marshall, Texas in the 1930s. He knew then that bringing change to this small town would be difficult.

Wiley College in the 1930s (02:31)

Dr. James Farmer recalls his former English teacher, Melvin Tolson who compelled people to think about segregation.

Contradiction of Segregation (02:08)

Dr. James Farmer talks about what is was like for a Black teenager growing up in segregated Marshall, Texas. He decided to challenge the system while attending Wiley College.

Segregation Protests (04:37)

In 1960, Whites of Marshall were stunned when students from Wiley and Bishop Colleges asked for service at "Whites only" lunch counters. Professor Inez Jenkins discusses the movement.

Change in Marshall, Texas (04:11)

The Medical Association of Marshall has elected a Black physician as president who remembers a time he wasn't even allowed to work in the town's hospital. Although the town is now integrated there is still work to be done.

Marshall, Texas - Credits (01:30)

Marshall, Texas - Credits

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Marshall, Texas

Part of the Series : A Walk Through the 20th Century with Bill Moyers
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



In this program, Bill Moyers returns to his hometown of Marshall, Texas—discovering, in his words, “a new town perched on the memory of one that’s gone.” Today it is hoped and expected that all of Marshall’s citizens, regardless of racial background, share the responsibilities of living and working in a small town. But there was a time in recent history when the opposite was assumed and accepted, when there were two Marshalls—one black, one white. The town was made up of “two worlds,” says Moyers, and yet they were both “waiting for an event.” The time was the 1960s and the event was the Civil Rights movement. (83 minutes)

Length: 84 minutes

Item#: BVL42055

ISBN: 978-1-62102-050-9

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.