Segments in this Video

Any Place But Here: Introduction (02:05)


Chicago offered hope to African Americans in the South. Approximately 5 million people made it north before the end of the exodus.

Mississippi Delta (02:23)

In the 1930s, 75% of the population was black; cotton was the mainstay for most. Florida Denton, the eldest of nine children, recalls what life was like for women in the South.

Sharecroppers (03:10)

Uless Carter worked alongside his family and 12 other black families. Most of the Carter's necessities were purchased from the plantation store. Sharecroppers struggled with debt.

Rural Life in the Deep South (03:32)

Earlean Lindsey grew up on a plantation in rural Alabama; she walked six miles to attend school when not picking cotton. Plantations hired casual laborers during the height of the picking season. Odell Wills and his wife describe picking cotton.

Cultivating Culture (03:12)

David "Honeyboy" Edwards recalls working in the fields; anybody who was idle during the day was arrested. Edwards made money playing his guitar for sharecroppers at juke joints; the blues became a legacy.

Defining Crop (02:09)

Cotton picking season was over by October; those who worked the land waited for their settlements. Carter recalls his father not receiving a settlement because the plantation owner wanted to send his son to college.

Larceny, Dishonesty, and Chicanery (03:41)

Black sharecroppers were vulnerable to being cheated; Denton did not like the system. Carter recalls his father's decision to move; twice the landowners took the family's team of mules. Carter hated Mississippi and vowed to leave the state when he was an adult.

Mississippi Flood (03:12)

Edwards and Wills recall the Great Flood of 1927. Black field hands and convicts rebuilt the levees; they lived in "prison camps." Edwards' mother died after giving birth.

Baptist Churches (03:59)

The church was a gathering place for blacks in the South. Ernest Whitehead was baptized at the age of 12; the church became his family. Lindsey felt like a new person after she was baptized.

Separation of the Races (02:30)

In the 1930s, the cotton market slumped and many sharecroppers moved to delta towns. Carter left the plantations in 1934 and became a house servant. Denton and Lindsey describe contact with white people and rules for black people.

Jim Crow (02:13)

Sterling Plumpp recalls his first conscious experience of race separation. Whitehead recalls separate water fountains and white people using the terms boy and uncle.

Black Communities (02:42)

Plumpp describes how children learned about Jim Crow. Carter recalls train tracks separating black and white communities, and how black people would socialize and congregate on two main streets.

Violence in the Gambling House (02:25)

Denton and Plumpp recall men bickering and fighting while drinking. James Hinton recalls the disregard for the murder of blacks. The authorities did not like black people on the streets at night.

"When You're White, You're Right" (02:40)

Whitehead states that the law belonged to "the man." Hear examples of how the law favored white people and lynchings.

Black/White Relationship (03:18)

Vernon Jarrett states that blacks could not have a victory in any confrontation with white people. Joe Louis was a hero to many blacks in the South while Max Schmeling was a symbol of Aryan superiority. Louis defeated Schmeling in their rematch.

Celebrating Joe Louis (01:48)

The North openly celebrated Louis' victory; those in the South celebrated more privately. Jarret recalls his attending a Jim Crow theater for the first time after the victory.

Giving Offense (03:04)

Jarett recalls the reminders that black people were subhuman. Plumpp, Denton, Carter, and Whitehead describe the desire to get out of Mississippi; Chicago was the Promised Land.

Credits: Any Place But Here: The Promised Land (01:12)

Credits: Any Place But Here: The Promised Land

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Any Place But Here: The Promised Land

Part of the Series : The Promised Land
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After reconstruction, white Americans began to take political and civil rights from black citizens. The first episode sets the historical scene, examining the politics, poverty and aspirations that motivated millions to escape from near slavery and segregation in Mississippi for Chicago, which promised freedom and dignity. Chicago in 1942 was home to a large, respectable black middle class as well as the "New Negroes" emerging from the war. Now it would need to prepare for and accept its new black citizens. A BBC Production.

Length: 50 minutes

Item#: BVL115697

ISBN: 978-1-63521-006-4

Copyright date: ©1996

Closed Captioned

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