‹ Back to Screenings & Events

YFS Screenings & Events

Two Trains Runnin’

Saturday, July 7, 2018 at 10:30am
The Globe Theatre

In the summer of 1964, known as Freedom Summer, three groups of college-age American whites headed for Mississippi to register voters, sometimes guided by African Americans who understood the danger far better than the outsiders. On June 21, two of those Northern visitors — Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner of New York City — were murdered, along with black Mississipian James Chaney. In an uncanny coincidence, two pioneering yet nearly forgotten bluesmen — Son House and Skip James, whose whereabouts had long been unknown to music aficionados — were finally located on that same date.

Finding them would not be easy. There were few clues to their whereabouts. It was not even known for certain if they were still alive.  And Mississippi, that summer, was a tense and violent place. With hundreds on their way to teach in freedom schools and work on voter registration, the Ku Klux Klan and police force of many towns vowed that Freedom Summer would not succeed. Churches were bombed, shotguns blasted into cars and homes. It was easy to mistake the young men looking for Son House and Skip James as activists. Finally, on June 21, 1964, these two campaigns collided in memorable and tragic fashion.

Two Trains Runnin’ is a feature-length documentary directed by Sam Pollard, narrated by Common, and featuring performances by Lucinda Williams, Buddy Guy and Gary Clark Jr. The film pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians and cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America. In 2017 the documentary was honored with a Grammy nomination for Best Music Film.

“This captivating movie, like the blues itself, is at once a recognition of somber truths and a gesture of protest against them.”
- A. O. Scott, The NYTimes

  • Directed by Samuel D. Pollard
  • 2016, USA
  • 80 minutes
    Two Trains Runnin’

    YFS Annual Supporters

    Supporters