Watch Jasper, Texas
Jasper, Texas is a critically acclaimed made-for-cable film based on actual events that occurred in Jasper, Texas in 1998. The film explores the brutal lynching of a black man and the aftermath of what is considered to be one of the most horrific, racially charged crimes in recent American history. On the night of June 7, 1998, three self-proclaimed white supremacists in the small Texas town of Jasper lured James Byrd, Jr. to a remote county road where they severely beat him then chained him by the ankles to the back of their pickup truck and drug him to his death. Autopsy reports revealed that Byrd remained alive and conscious throughout most of the ordeal, and was killed when his body hit the edge of a culvert, severing his head and right arm. The perpetrators- Shawn Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and John King then dumped Byrd’s mutilated remains in front of an African American church and went to a barbecue. News of the murder quickly spreads, sending shock waves across the nation. The town is thrust into public awareness. The media, FBI, and members of both the Blank Panther Party and the KKK converge on the once sleepy town. As the trials of the accused commence, once submerged racial tensions are brought to a boiling point. It is up to the town’s Sheriff- Billy Rowles, and Jasper’s first African American Mayor- R.C. Horn, to maintain peace and control. Justice is eventually served when two of the accused are sentenced to die and third is given a life sentence. This film sheds light on one of the most volatile issues in American history and relates the story of how one of the most heinous hate crimes in recent history affected residents of a small Texas town, and the nation as a whole.