Film: The Order of Myths

Inside Alabama’s (still) segregated Mardi Gras.

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Mobile, Alabama, held America’s first Mardi Gras in 1703, 15 years before New Orleans was even a city. It also received the nation’s last shipment of slaves, and was the site of one of the last reported lynchings, in 1981. In 2007, Alabama officially apologized for slavery and its “after effects.” But those after effects still play out in Mobile’s annual Mardi Gras, a traditionally segregated event where all-black and all-white clubs throw separate balls and parades to honor their respective carnival kings and queens.

The fascinating The Order of Myths, which pbs‘s Independent Lens will air on February 24, follows these parallel worlds during 2007’s Mardi Gras. The polite partygoers interviewed by director Margaret Brown aren’t eager to confront the obvious: Whites talk of the importance of preserving “roots,” while blacks speak broadly of the need for “a change of heart” and “moving forward.” But Brown digs deeper, exposing a historical connection between the white and black queens that embodies Mobile’s inescapable racial divide.

When, for the first time ever, the black royal couple attends its white counterpart’s coronation, revelers display heartbreaking happiness over this bit of progress. But that baby step is plenty for some. “There’s a time and there’s a place for change,” the white king says. “But I don’t think anything needs to be forced on it right now. It’s worked well for years.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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