Rhythms of the Land

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Rhythms of the Land: A Multimedia Film Documentary by Dr. Gail P. Myers

A Valentine to Black Farmers

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Rhythms of the Land is a valentine to generations of black farmers in the United States from the enslavement period to the present, whose intense love of the land and dedication to community enabled them to survive against overwhelming odds.

 

They struggled from the beginning without support or recognition, and have been written out of the dominant narratives of US agriculture.

 

Rhythms of the Land is currently in post production; any donation or contribution to the project is greatly appreciated!

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Trailer

A large portion of African American sharecroppers and tenant farmers migrated to the North after the Wars I and II for factory jobs. These are the stories of the people that remained on or returned to the land and continued the agrarian traditions passed down from their ancestors.  

This trailer spotlights a few of the more than 30 interviews weaving a compelling story of love for family, land, God, and community. Rhythms of the Land brings to life a love story seldom told.

 

A Few People in the Trailer

 

Icefene Thomas, lived until the age of 113, born December 24, 1902, died January 6, 2016.

 

Charlie Brown, who can boast of never having suffered a failed crop.

 

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 Steppe, who played an integral part in the historic Pigford v. Glickman litigation, moving forward the class action lawsuit against the US Dept. of Agriculture for loan discrimination against Black farmers.

Russell Prince, Texas aquaponics visionary.

Shirley Sherrod, 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.

​Jery Taylor, basket weaver, tells how rice plantations in South Carolina used the basket weaving tradition from West Africa in the “fanner basket. According to Mrs. Jery Taylor, men were the original basket weavers when Senegambians was first transported to this country. During the Civil War, when the men went to war, then women began making the baskets.

DOCUMENTARY RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 2021

To request screenings email: marketing@farmstogrow.com

For more information visit www.rhythmsoftheland.com

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ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Dr. Gail Myers is a cultural anthropologist who earned the Doctorate in Anthropology from Ohio State University, the Masters in Applied Anthropology from Georgia State University, and the Bachelors in English from Florida State University. She is also the Co-founder of Farms to Grow, Inc, and has been advocating for African American farmers for more than 20 years.  Dr. Myers began researching African American farmers while at Ohio State University in 1997.

 

Dr. Myers passion for Black farmers developed as a result of hearing stories of their loss and struggles without recognition for their contributions. Myers is considered an expert in the anthropology of African American farming. In the summer of 2012, Dr. Myers, drove 10,000 miles in four weeks to cover 10 southern states (South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida), interviewing over 30 African American sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and 3rd to 5th generation farmers.

Each interview represents generations of cultural traditions, family farming, and a farming philosophy that honors farming land, sustainability, their communities, and unimaginable perseverance despite predatory lending practices and policies levied against them. ​Hearing their stories will honor these US farmers, sharecroppers, and gardeners and spotlight the connection between biological and cultural diversity 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.