American history tells us Slavery ended in 1865. But deep in the swamps and pine forests of Florida and Georgia, over half a million Blacks were held in debt servitude until the 1970's. More than 100 years after the last cotton plant was plucked by an unpaid Black hand, turpentiners tapped the longleaf pines, harvesting pine gum fourteen hours a day, but earning less each week than they were forced to spend on food and clothing in the company store. "The onliest way out is to die out," says a seasoned worked in "Poet of the Swingin' Blade," Bannister and Hurd's poetic look at the extraordinary lives of the Blacks enslaved by debt peonage, but freed by their stories, songs, rootwork, and magic. Based on dozens of interviews with surviving centenarian turpentiners and the memories of Hurd's own grandfather, Jake, "Poet of the Swingin' Blade" is a rich spoken word poem, full of dreams and wonders and hard realities. Part history lesson, part poetry, part American Folklore and all ... Written by
A story of slavery in 1930s Florida.
3 February 2007 (USA)
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Did You Know?
The film "Poet of the Swingin' Blade" was based on interviews with surviving centenarian Black turpentine workers. See more