Plantation System in Southern Life, The

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Plantation System in Southern Life, The is a short film from 1950 released on 16mm. It is held in the Prelinger Archives collection.

Placing the viewer in the perspective of the white tourist family, a historically preserved Southern mansion is investigated and the past system of plantation owners and slaves is re-created.

Plantation System in Southern Life, The
Produced byCoronet Instructional Films
Coronet Instructional Films
Distributed byCoronet Instructional Films
Release date
Running time
ewid: 3543 | Fresh | | step:0 || dopt: {{{dopt}}}


The homes of the past are contrasted with the homes of the current tenant farmers and landlords. At the end, as the viewer observes a polite barbecue party of well-dressed white people as the voiceover narrates: "Today, if we visit a social gathering in the south, we'll see some of these things. The gentle manners and courtesy. The separation of society into distinct groups. And the relationship of that society to the land, which supplies its wealth. These are some of the things the plantation system has contributed to southern life."

A family on a site-seeing tour, visiting a wealthy plantation mansion furniture, a woman holds up a serving bowl, admiring it A boy pointing to a map on the wall -- close-up of his hand pointing on the map Small wooden houses of the slaves Close-up of a blacksmith pounding molten metal Close-up of a hand saw Close-up of a field being hoed Close-up of a spinning loom Close-up of a hand tugging on a muddy wagon wheel A river boat Two black men pushing a bail of cotton on a ship An older black man picking cotton A plantation owner, riding on horseback in a black suit and hat, two slave men picking cotton stop to listen to him A young white woman curtsies, a man bows to her Silhouette of two slaves carrying hoes past white socializing on the mansion porch Animation map of the U.S. with main areas of plantation crop lands The white family entering their car on their sightseeing tour Cotton fields Close-up of a black man picking cotton Houses of tenant farmers A truck filled with bins of cotton zooms down the highway Cows, walking slowly A mechanical cotton picker, dumping cotton Soybean crops White men and women dressed up at an outdoor barbecue by the fields

 1:26:80- 1:37:39

Two different shots of slave quarters behind a plantation house. While they are supposed to be part of a historical "tour" of an old plantation, these run-down cabins are look as though they're still inhabited (now by tenant farmers). The first shot shows the sides of these cabins/shacks (they're made of wood and have small front porches). In the second shot we see a chicken in the front yard, and the porch has furniture.

 2:58:90- 3:26:72

African-American laborers pick cotton. Start with focus on an elderly man picking, cut to a view of him and two more workers, and finally cut to image of more workers a mix of men and women. We cannot see their faces, because they are bent over picking.

 7:15:88- 7:27:09

An African-American woman walks out of her tenant farmer's home (it is different than the old wooden shacks it looks like it's made of aluminum) with laundry in her arms. Some men in a tractor roll by her, and a little boy runs after it (presumably he's catching up to it so he can go out to the fields and work).