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One year after the town merged its racially segregationed proms and during a historic election campaign that may lead to its first African-American sheriff, Southern Rites visits Montgomery County, Ga. When a white town resident is charged with the murder of a young black man, the repercussions are documented by a photographer who first brought the area unwanted notoriety. The case divides locals along well-worn racial lines and the ensuing plea bargain and sentencing uncover complex truths and produce emotional revelations.