Rhythms of the Land
A Multimedia Film Documentary by Dr. Gail P. Myers
During the summer of 2012, Dr. Myers toured 10 southern states -- Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida -- interviewing over 30 farmers, sharecroppers, and gardeners and a 5th generation coil basket weaver. Several of these interviews are with elders, 98, 92, and 109. Suffice it to say, the wisdom and personalities of the elders farmers are infectious. These interviews represent generations of cultural traditions of Black farming philosophy that honors land, sustainability, God, family and love for their community.
Hearing their stories will honor these US farmers, sharecroppers, and gardeners and spotlight the connection between biological and cultural diversity that will connect us to our roots, especially our future farmers, and youth.
The film will spotlight an array of farmers, rice growers, hog ranchers, dairy ranchers, barefoot farmers, sharecroppers, basket-weavers, shrimp farmers, vegetable farmers, and gardeners, each sharing their memorable stories with us for the first time.
People In the Film:
Aunt Rose: In 2016, Aunt Rose turned 104 years old. She is daughter of a tenant farmer and maintained her own garden until she was 96 years old.
Icefene Thomas, lived until the age of 113 born December 24, 1902, died January 6, 2016.
Deborah Williams, daughter of a Georgia sharecropper, who in 1996 co-founded "The Mother Clyde Memorial West End Garden", the first Atlanta community garden in a trash-strewn vacant lot, now a thriving urban farm where the community can freely pick fruits and vegetables, to each according to need.
Alvin Steppes: Played an integral part in pigford v. Glickman, the lawsuit against loan discrimination against black farmers.
Vermont Preston, pictured in the background is the cob oven he made by hand. He tells the story of how to prepare Poke salad, which he grows on his urban farm.
Shirley Sherrod is a former Georgia State Director of Rural Development of the USDA who was forced to resign her post because of unfair charges of racism, who tells the tragic story of her farming father’s murder by a white farmer that inspired her long career of public service.
Jerry Taylor: Basket weaver that shows how rice plantations in South Carolina used basket weaving in the "fanner basket".