'Miss Lil's Camp' is an award winning documentary about the director of an exclusive summer camp for girls from upper middle class Southern homes. Miss Lil, as Lillian Smith was known, taught Laurel Falls' campers that segregation was wrong. She expressed her thoughts and radical ideas at a time when Southern leadership was committed to a racially segregated society and Jim Crow laws permeated every aspect of social life. Some young campers were repulsed by her ideas while others embraced them. In short, Lillian Smith was no ordinary woman and Laurel Falls no ordinary camp.
Radical as the camp was, nothing prepared the parents of campers, or indeed the rest of the South, for Lillian Smith's first novel, Strange Fruit (1944). The story of a white Southern man's love for a black girl, the book was banned in Boston and distributed secretly in the South. Public reaction was swift and harsh. Some campers were forbidden to return to camp; others returned despite opposition from home.
In the film, we meet three former campers and a former camp employee who return to Laurel Falls Camp. Weaving narratives of former campers and rare archival footage of Lillian Smith, the film brings Miss Lil and Laurel Falls Camp back to life.
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