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the fly in the buttermilk: the history, perceptions and principles of black Greek lettered organizations at Ole Miss

the fly in the buttermilk, is a documentary series detailing a variety of black experiences. This segment details the history, perception and principles of black Greek-lettered organizations. After a brief national history of the fraternities and sororities, the film looks into their presence on college campuses, specifically the predominantly white University of Mississippi.

The university has a haunting past of racial tension, most notably beginning with the riots around the integration of James Meredith in 1962. Since then, the university has made much advancement for inclusion and cross-cultural engagement. However, cultural disparities within the Greek system allows for some racial tension to continue today.

This film explores the 1973 chartering process of black Greek- lettered organizations at the university, unveils past and present racial sentiments of some whites and proves the value and excellence of these nine organizations -four sororities and five fraternities - at the university and throughout their communities. Although black lettered organizations differ by name, color, hand signs and calls, they all serve the same purposes: sisterhood/brotherhood, scholarship, service.

  • Ashley F. G. Norwood
  • Ashley F. G. Norwood
  • Carolyne Cole
    Video/Photo Contributor
  • Jessi Hotakainen
    Video/Photo Contributor
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Education, Culture
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 25, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ashley F. G. Norwood

Native of Jackson, Miss., Norwood received her Bachelor of Arts in English at Jackson State University and her Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Mississippi. At the U of M, Norwood produced "the fly in the buttermilk", a series of short films documenting a variety of black perspectives. Her first segment, "the history, perceptions and principles of black Greek-lettered organizations," has reached a growing number of more than 18,000 views from across the nation. The impact of the film has challenged the university to create better opportunities and physical spaces for black Greeks. They are also using the film as a tool to educate, create space for conversation and reconciliation, and to prevent acts of micro aggression and student-to-student discrimination.

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Director Statement

"the fly in the buttermilk," is more than a movie, it's a movement.