By Ken Tucker
Updated July 08, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

The sorry tale of the 1963 killing of civil rights activist Medgar Evers receives a problematic retelling in Southern Justice: The Murder of Medgar Evers. This special, part of HBO’s generally excellent America Undercover series, lays out all the facts of Evers’ life, culminating in the assassination of the Mississippi NAACP leader in front of his own home in Jackson. There’s eloquent commentary from Evers’ wife. But because Southern Justice has better interview footage with Evers’ convicted killer, white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith, than it does with Evers, the hour inadvertently becomes a portrait of a creepy racist, ever willing, with cameras rolling, to say moronic, inflammatory things like ”God put us here to rule over the dusky races.”

There are also a few troubling scenes labeled ”reenactment” that dramatize violence against African-Americans in an overwrought, undignified way, reminding us once again why such an entertainment-inspired technique has no place in a serious documentary. C