The movie tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Opposed to both slavery and secession, Knight launched an uprising of poor white farmers that led Jones County, Mississippi to itself secede from the Confederacy, creating a "Free State of Jones." His relationship and post-war marriage to a former slave, Rachel Knight, effectively established the region's first mixed-race community. Knight, continued his fight into the post war period, resisting Klan activity through Reconstruction. His legendary rebellion distinguished Newt Knight as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.
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