The history of the South is weaved among the plantations across the region. Many of these plantations have survived into modern times and have been lovingly restored to their original form. As progress and city expansion takes root it often times infringes on these plantations and for some it’s a negative symptom of suburban sprawl but for others it’s a welcome erasure of a terrible past.
Garden & Gun, a Southern lifestyle magazine, has spotlighted a new independent film, Moving Midway, from Godfrey Cheshire that chronicles the living history of his families plantation which was physically moved from it’s original plot.
During the massive undertaking of moving this mansion, Cheshire explores the history of those who lived on the plantation and those who “worked” it as slaves.
When New York film critic Godfrey Cheshire returns home to North Carolina in early 2004 and hears that his cousin Charlie Silver plans to uproot and move the buildings of Midway Plantation, their family’s ancestral home, an extraordinary, emotional journey begins.
Charlie’s plan is a controversial one within their extended family. Some fear the move will destroy Midway. Others worry about the reaction of the plantation’s ghosts, including Miss Mary “Mimi” Hinton, Midway’s eccentric owner when Charlie and Godfrey were kids.
There’s another group who may be concerned too. Charlie says he was recently visited by a man who claimed that their family has a large, previously unknown African-American branch, due to a liaison between Midway’s builder and a plantation slave.
Back in New York, Cheshire fortuitously encounters Dr. Robert Hinton, an NYU professor of African-American studies who says his grandfather was born a slave at Midway.
While beginning a dialogue on the meaning of Midway from their very different perspectives, Cheshire and Dr. Hinton examine how the Southern plantation, a crucial economic institution in early America, generated a powerful, bitterly contested mythology that was at the center of a string of American cultural milestones, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Birth of a Nation to Gone with the Wind and Roots.
There are a few more first run dates so if it’s in your area we suggest you check it out.
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