The Microsoft Network and Castle Rock Entertainment Bring Civil Rights Education to Students

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 10, 1997 — The newly released film
“Ghosts of Mississippi,”
which looks at the era of segregation by examining the assassination of prominent civil rights leader Medgar Evers, will be used to educate millions of American students with the help of MSN
, The Microsoft Network, and Castle Rock Entertainment.
“CIVIL RIGHTS – then + now,”
an eight-week CD-ROM-based program developed by the two companies and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, began distribution Jan. 6 to 35,000 junior and senior high schools nationwide.

Students in participating classrooms will be eligible to win Microsoft® software, Toshiba computer hardware, MSN subscriptions and
“Ghosts of Mississippi”
merchandise in a civil rights essay and art contest sponsored by MSN and Castle Rock Entertainment.

The educational
“CIVIL RIGHTS – then + now”
program is designed to initiate discussion among educators and their students about the evolution of the civil rights movement. Each week, students will learn about a variety of social and political civil rights topics such as the Jim Crow laws; the March on Washington; the use and impact of violence in the struggle for racial equality; the factors that contribute to prejudice; the gains achieved by civil rights activists such as Medgar Evers, the film’s protagonist; and much more.

The CD-ROM-based program features three main components:

  • The Book includes an eight-week lesson plan with a Study Guide, Internet Research Guide and classroom activities about the civil rights movement and the film
    “Ghosts of Mississippi.”
    Delivered directly to schools, these materials feature interviews with the Evers children and their experience in making the film, an overview of the in-school contest,
    “CIVIL RIGHTS – then + now”
    and a link to the official MSN
    “Ghosts of Mississippi”
    Web site, ( .

  • Voices features interviews with famous minority celebrities about their experiences with racial prejudice. Celebrities include Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Ming-Na Wen, Salma Hayek, Edward James Olmos, L.L. Cool J, Chuck D, Chris Rock and Reggie Miller.

  • Memorial Wall provides a historical time line of African American history and the civil rights movement.

“Using ‘Ghosts of Mississippi’ as a jumping-off point for a broad-based educational program about the civil rights movement was an exciting opportunity for us,”
said Tammy Glover, producer of
“CIVIL RIGHTS – then + now.” “Combining traditional print materials such as the Study Guide and the Internet Research Guide with the CD-ROM was a way for us to marry academic content with high-quality Hollywood production values.”

Online Resources in MSN

“CIVIL RIGHTS – then + now”
includes an online component that uses The Microsoft Network as a research tool for obtaining in-depth material about the civil rights movement. Both the Study Guide and the Internet Research Guide offer tips for navigating the Internet, using search engines, leveraging chat and e-mail, and accessing civil rights-related Web sites. Students and teachers can visit the official
“Ghosts of Mississippi” Web site at ( to download the eight-week lesson plan and online research guide and access additional content on Black History Month.

Students and teachers will find valuable services and information throughout MSN that lead them to the people, places and events that shaped and continue to influence the civil rights movement. Through the four main areas on MSN – Find, Communicate, Essentials and
On Stage – students can find related information and resources and interact with other students on the topics of race relations and prejudice.

“We hope that the ‘Ghosts of Mississippi’ academic program will not only serve as a catalyst for ongoing discussion about the civil rights movement, but also emphasize the growing importance of leveraging the Internet for educational and research needs,”
said Robyn Pitts, MSN product manager.
“The Microsoft Network helps streamline the process of finding comprehensive information, making it a much more exciting and enjoyable experience for students of all ages.”

National Student Contest

Seventh- through 12th-grade students across the country are eligible to participate in a national contest by submitting their written and artistic interpretations of how the civil rights movement has evolved and their vision for its future. Contest entries should include both an original, hand-drawn design illustrating the evolution of the civil rights movement and hopes for its future, along with a 250-word essay describing the artwork. Entries must be received by
Jan. 31, 1997.

Winning entries will be chosen by a panel of judges including Rob Reiner, director of
“Ghosts of Mississippi.”
Top winners will be featured on the Web site on
Feb. 28, 1997.

Toshiba Inc., the contest sponsor, is offering desktop and laptop computers worth over $32,000. Ten computers will be awarded to individual students and their classrooms. Overall, 175 prizes will be awarded, including Microsoft software products, the Microsoft Encarta® 97 multimedia encyclopedia Deluxe Edition, subscriptions to MSN,
“Ghosts of Mississippi”
and MSN merchandise, and $250 U.S. savings bonds.

“We are particularly pleased to sponsor this contest in partnership with Microsoft,”
said Caryl Collins, manager-education programs for Toshiba Computer Systems Division.
“Toshiba is committed to furthering education by providing the latest technology that will bring today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders into the 21st century. This effort represents an excellent opportunity to make a positive contribution to these areas.”

More Information From MSN and the Internet

For more information about how to enter the classroom contest, students can tap into the official
“Ghosts of Mississippi”
Web site at ( . The 35,000 designated schools will automatically received the
“CIVIL RIGHTS – then + now”
CD-ROM program in the mail. Schools and classrooms that lack direct Internet access are encouraged to use the Internet resources of their local library.

Free MSN Trial Offer

Students and teachers can also take advantage of a free MSN CD-ROM and special two-month trial offer* by calling (800) FREE-MSN (373-3676), department 9399.

The Microsoft Network

MSN is the third-largest online service worldwide, offering high-quality information, entertainment and communications on the Internet. With the new Web-based version launched in December 1996, MSN also makes available hundreds of special-interest bulletin boards and such online services, programming, and Web shows as the Encarta multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia
travel service, Star Trek: Continuum, Slate
online magazine, the CarPoint
online car-buying guide, and up-to-date news and information from MSNBC News. The MSN home page can be reached at ( .

Microsoft, MSN, Encarta , Expedia , Slate , CarPoint and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

The Microsoft Network is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC.

*MSN offer: For users of Windows® 95 only. This two-month free trial is available to new MSN members in the United States and Canada only. A credit card is required. MSN premium charges, access charges (if access is purchased from a provider other than MSN), long-distance or toll charges may apply. Offer expires Dec. 30, 1997.

Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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