Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Upcoming Documentary: The Cotton Pickin' Truth...Still on the Plantation

I found this trailer via Facebook where it was first posted by Benjamin Woods of the blog freetheland. The trailer for the upcoming documentary The Cotton Pickin’ Truth…Still on the Plantation seeks to expose the present day system of slavery and peonage still in existence in many parts of the United States.

I must admit that when I watched the opening segment of this trailer, I was a bit incredulous at first. I am somewhat leery of conspiracy theories whether they come from the right or the left, and the story of the lady speaking seemed a bit outlandish when taken out of context. The notion that she was held in perpetual servitude as a slave up until 1960 is a bit hard to take even if it is in the state of Mississippi.

But as the trailer progressed, it gained a bit more credibility in my eyes. I have been through Mississippi, and I have witnessed firsthand many of the intolerable conditions some African Americans and whites continue to live under. I have witnessed the shotgun shacks and dilapidated trailers often housing successive generations under one roof, permeated by the overwhelming smell of urine and feces emanating from nonexistent or insufficient human waste disposal systems.

And I have witnessed the dearth of educational opportunities which might lead to meaningful employment among those still living a rural agrarian existence devoid of technological advances and advantages even as the nation and the world moves forward. Needless to say, some of the conditions I have witnessed firsthand in the state of Mississippi and in forgotten communities throughout the nation are abominable in a nation boasting of plenty.

I look forward to being able to see the completed product which is due to be available right around January 10th, 2010. After you have watched the trailer, let me know what you think, and if you have any questions for the filmmaker, she can be reached by email at afrigenah@yahoo.com.

8 comments:

msladydeborah said...

I am honestly not shocked. Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about a U.N. sanctioned study on the lives of people in different parts of the world. Mississippi was the state that was selected under this study. The results made me so angry and sad that I titled the post after Nina Simone's song,"Mississippi Goddamn" The facts that I read made my head hurt.

I received a comment from one of the people who worked on the study. He talked about how hard it was for him to not feel pain or anger towards the conditions and the way people are treated in this particular state.

Learning that there are still working plantations isn't stunning news either. I've been down to Mississippi just once. While we were riding down the highway, I saw living conditions that made me cringe. Poverty the likes I haven't seen period.

I feel for people who have been indoctrinated to believe that they cannot do better. Or that they cannot move away from what is familiar.

You know that I'm going to make it my business to see this film. I want to see the full story. I know it will probably make me cuss some more and get teary eyed with anger. But not to watch it would be like denying that the condition still exists. I refuse to do that because the institution is so horrible-and it needs to be toppled if the evidence rings true.

Max Reddick said...

When I was traveling through Mississippi, what hurt me most was that people accepted this way of life. They knew nothing else. And I could only think of the children. This type of poverty is self perpetrating. The children grow up thinking it's the norm, thinking that life offers nothing else and they not dream otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Ive heard and read about this kind of thing before: junteenth, "industrialize" slavery during Jim Crow and of course share cropping. I just cant make it through this video though. I had to stop at the during the initial stages of the older woman's account of her rape. Hearing her speak felt as if someone was trampling over both my soul and manhood. It plain makes me angry and breaks my will to continue to hope and pray for progress as it concerns human decency and the plight of our people.


As ayoung (soon to realize my 31st year), single, childless black male, I often ask myself: Is this a world that I want to bring children into? I will definitely have get on my knees and pray about this one. I need some guidance right about now.

Symphony said...

Reminds me of a book on my "To Read" list:

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

by Douglas Blackmon

Not surprising but still makes you pause for a moment. If we were to truly study American life beyond the things we see on TV, we as a nation would be embarrassed I'm sure.

Max Reddick said...

@ Anon

Certainly, it is understandable that one would take pause at the prospect of bringing a child into this mess. However, you must ask yourself if I decide not to father a child, if I decide not to propagate, what am I denying the world. Perhaps that child, your child, could be the one to find a solution to the mess that we are in.

@ symphony

I have that book on my shelf right now gathering dust. I'm just trying to find a time to read it.

And you are right in your assessment that the news and the various media do not give us an accurate representation of what is really going on in our nation and in the world. But the question then becomes, what can we do? What can I as an individual do to ameliorate this kind of suffering and privation. Certainly, the film maker has taken the first step by making this film and shedding light on the subject.

Max Reddick said...

@ Anon

Certainly, it is understandable that one would take pause at the prospect of bringing a child into this mess. However, you must ask yourself if I decide not to father a child, if I decide not to propagate, what am I denying the world. Perhaps that child, your child, could be the one to find a solution to the mess that we are in.

@ symphony

I have that book on my shelf right now gathering dust. I'm just trying to find a time to read it.

And you are right in your assessment that the news and the various media do not give us an accurate representation of what is really going on in our nation and in the world. But the question then becomes, what can we do? What can I as an individual do to ameliorate this kind of suffering and privation. Certainly, the film maker has taken the first step by making this film and shedding light on the subject.

md20737 said...

My roommate from college is from Bennettsville SC a super small town you past through on the way to Myrtle Beach. She invited me home with her. From Greensboro to South Carolina I saw the most shocking kind of poverty I have ever witnessed. Run down homes, with the wood barely not splitting, little to no roofs, you can only imagine whats happening on the inside. In addition I saw cotton fields for the very first time ever in life. I was shocked and curious at the same time. I asked to stop so I can go on the cotton fields to get a closer look. She informed me it was trespassing if we did so we continued on. She was not shocked or surprised by what we saw because she was used to it. But when I saw the cotton fields and I felt how hot it was, my thoughts was they wanted people to work in those fields all day everyday. My second thought was what about when it got cold outside and they had to live in those terrible terrible houses how did they survive? So if thats what you see in Missippi I can relate. By the time we got to her house I was at a lost for words. Her house ended up being a nice home but after seeing what I saw I would have never guessed it.

What bothers me is the people who live in the norhtern states and bragg about being from the ghetto. The ghetto is nothing compared to these peoples living condidition. The ghetto is usually brick building with roofs and running water. These places had one of the two or neither.

Keith said...

I will definitely have to check this out when it's released. Thanks for sharing this with us. It should shock us that something like this still goes on in the 21st century. Unfortunately it's not surprising at all. It does pain my heart to see so many blacks and whites living in extreme poverty and hardship. Many never see a way out. They believe this is their place in life.

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