Christian Author: Nancy W. Boyer

The Old South may be Going…if not already… GONE with the Wind

MUSICAL SCORE FROM GONE WITH THE WIND  (Click and read below while you listen)

To go back in time….to know what life was really like in the days around the Civil War, one might look at the famous movie by Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind.  She won a Pulitzer prize for her book and actors such as Clark Gable and Vivian Lee became famous for their roles.   Butterfly McQueen, whose life we feature at the end of this writing, tells us what it was like to portray the southern black slave of that day.  She, of course, only acted in the role, but the real slaves of that time were not only the house maids, but the field hands, working either on the cotton plantations or in the rice fields.

My husband and I visited South Carolina recently and took a tour of the plantations that exist in the low countries.  Many have been restored, but most are finding it hard to keep up the thousands of acres and the huge mansions of that era.  It may truly be a thing of the past in a few years…or “gone with the wind” as so many fall into disrepair.    Maybe that is why it is important to take a look at what has survived and think of our country’s past.   I made many pictures of the old slave houses because soon they will fall into the dust…and without something to see…may be remembered no more by our future generations.

The long-time residents of the deep south, sometimes called the Bible Belt, take great pride in their history of a south that lost the war to the northern Yankees    Rebel flags are flown; monuments are placed in the public squares. It is difficult for some to not  believe that the South as they knew it  could  never “rise again”.    They still put up stones to the fact that their cause, the Rebel cause,  was the right one.  (See picture below.)   We know, of course, that had the South won the war, slavery would have continued.  There would not be desegregation, as we know it today, with opportunity for all citizens.  Our country would be a very different place.   However, in our travels, we saw such towns as Greenville, S.C that have made a beautiful down-town area with thriving shops and offices open to all.  Perhaps the South did “rise again”  even though many of their towns were burned to the ground during the Civil War.   It may have been a long-hard struggle, but I think those who bled for their cause, on either side, would be pleased to see how far the southern people have come.   It is up to them to pass on their history to the young people of today, pointing out the struggles.

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There is a wonderful, natural beauty in the South Carolina lowlands…massive oak trees that grace the entrances to the large plantations, often overlooking the water that once were the rice fields.   (See the video below.)   Great camellia bushes bend with red and pink blossoms.  Hanging moss blows gently in the wind.    Most of the plantations were constructed in the 1700’s.  A few have the original house or foundation, but fire took its toll on so many.  The threat of fire was why most homes had the kitchen building separate from the main house.

Some of the houses, such as the Sampson-Hamby-Ward House, date pre-Revolutionary War times. This can be noticed by the hand-hewn sills and joists;  braced frame construction with hewn and pegged hanging joists.

Some of the famous plantations of the southern  low country are in the Prince George Winyah Parish, near Georgetown, S.C.

There was nothing gentle, or genteel,  about the lives of those who worked the hundreds of acres.    Rosemont Plantation produced 570,000 pounds of rice and had 291 slaves. .  Hopsewee Plantation house was built of black cypress over 275 years ago.    On this property of 240 acres, 178 slaves worked the rice fields of the Santee Delta, producing 560,000 pounds of rice.

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Take a look at the  slide presentation of Plantations in the Low Country of South Carolina and some of the Slave Houses on the “Slave Street” at Mansfield Plantation.

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An interview of Butterfly McQueen and what she experienced taking the part of a black slave in Gone with the Wind.

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